Fears that the Bay Lights might permanently go dark after March have been allayed, and the foundation behind the light sculpture, Illuminate the Arts, has announced that they've reached their $4 million fundraising goal set for the end of the year. The goal was met with the help of a single donor, wealthy philanthropist Tad Taube of Woodside, who only recently heard the lights would be coming down when he was attending a party at a restaurant along the water (likely at Waterbar or Epic Roasthouse). As the Chron reports, Taube said to himself, "Gosh, this is a treasure that we couldn’t allow to fall from our grasp," and quickly got in touch with a pledge of $2 million.
What this means is that after artist Leo Villareal's light installation is removed in March for some mandatory cleaning/painting of the bridge's cables, more robust LEDs will be reinstalled, and Illuminate the Arts will continue in its effort to raise more funds to keep the lights on for the next decade. As SFist reported earlier, the total sum needed for the 10- to 12-year life of the project is $12 million. $350,000 was raised through small crowdsourced donations over the summer, and apparently another $1.6 million has been raised in the interim to reach a $4 million goal set for December 31 to meet the conditions of a letter of agreement with CalTrans.
The Bay Area Toll Authority meanwhile approved the reinstallation last week and has pledged up to $250,000 per year for maintenance.
"This is a great moment for public art and a great gift of the holiday season for the people of the Bay Area," says Ben Davis, director and founder of Illuminate the Arts.
The lights will come down in March and we may not see the reinstallation until early 2016 ABC 7 notes that the goal is to have them back on in time for Super Bowl 50 in 2016.
Also in the works, as we reported earlier this week, is the LightRail project from the same foundation, but a different duo of artists. That project consists of strings of subway responsive LEDS above ground on Market Street showing where BART trains are in the tunnels below ground. It will be funded separately.
Previously: Backers Seek To Keep Bay Lights Up For 12 More Years, Install LED Sculpture Up Market Street Too