In 2011, the non-profit arts organization, ILLUMINATE, along with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and world-renowned artist Leo Villareal collaborated to create a stunning living display of light on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in celebration of its 75th anniversary. The Bay Lights, unveiled in March 2013 and originally intended as a short-term installation, quickly became a local and global “must see” attraction. Before it even went live, it was dubbed by Hemispheres magazine as “the number one thing to see in the world during 2013.”
The living sculpture also instantaneously became a source of pride for the community. It revitalized the waterfront and its economy with local bars and restaurants reporting a 30% increase in business. And, a group of more than 20 independent analysts from leading firms such as McKinsey, Deloitte, Google, Facebook and city agencies unanimously agreed that The Bay Lights boosts the regional economy by more than $100m annually.