A small group of about 100 hearty souls stood underneath Bay Bridge Friday morning, to temporarily say goodbye to the1.8-mile-wide LED light sculpture.
"I’m humbled,” Bay Lights Project artist Leo Villareal told NBC Bay Area. “The response is overwhelming.”
The lights will be turned off for 11 months, leaving blackness where there was once a gorgeous twinkling drive between San Francisco and the East Bay.
The 500-foot-high art installation, which displays 25,000 LED lights and was designed by artist Leo Villareal, will be removed from where it sits on the western span of the Bay Bridge to allow Caltrans crews to perform maintenance on the bridge cables.The project has reached the end of its permitted two-year run.
But that black hole won’t stay a black hole forever. Ben Davis’ group, Illuminate the Arts, raised $4 million to re-install the project in 11 months -- in time for the Bay Area to host the Super Bowl in 2016. After that, the group will turn the project over to Caltrans and the Bay Bridge Authority to keep it going for the unforeseeable future.
Davis, who envisioned the project, said the next version of the lights will be more robust, and able to better weather the bridge’s tough conditions; salt air, wind and the pounding of thousands of cars every day have caused the lights to malfunction at times during its two-year run.