Bay Bridge lights display to be shut off
It has become an iconic piece of the San Francisco waterfront - the "Bay Lights" art display on the western span of the Bay Bridge.
For nearly 10 years, 25,000 LEDs have twinkled, changed patterns, and delighted residents and visitors alike.
"I love it," said Aparna Warrier from San Francisco. "When my family is visiting, I always make it a point to bring them here."
Sunday, on the 10th anniversary of its original lighting, the Bay Lights will be turned off.
"When it goes dark on Sunday, we know it’s going to leave a hole in the nighttime skyline of San Francisco," Ben Davis, the founder and chief visionary officer of Illuminate, an arts nonprofit, said, "And it’s going to really punch a hole in the psyche of the city."
Davis said the lights have been badly damaged over time. He said they are failing faster than they can be repaired.
"They’re coming down frankly because the Bay is a harsh environment for electronics. There’s harsh rain, high winds, salty air, lightning strikes, expansion of cables," said Davis.
Illuminate is raising money to bring the lights back. The goal is to get $11 million.
"Our strategy is to raise $10 million in $1 million gifts from people who have done well in San Francisco and want to do well by the city. And then to raise the last million through a crowdfunding campaign," said Davis.
If Illuminate does secure that money, the artist’s plan is to install 50,000 custom LEDs which would make the artwork more visible.
Alameda resident Harvey Wilson remembers what the bridge used to look like. "It was just another municipal freeway," he said. "But this, this is art."