The Bay Lights is designed by world-renowned artist Leo Villareal. This iconic light sculpture shines from dusk until dawn on the San Francisco Bay Bridge west span from March 5, 2013 through March 2015. In collaboration with the State of California, a long-term proposal will bring the installation back in early 2016 and will remain forever brilliant.

Visit The Project Site


Leo Villareal is known internationally for his light sculptures and site-specific architectural works. His art is part of the permanent collections of prestigious museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Kagawa, Japan. Recent exhibitions include a survey show organized by the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, which continues to tour several museums in the United States. Leo received a BA in sculpture from Yale University in 1990, and a graduate degree from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Interactive Telecommunications Program.

On October 22, Leo unveiled “Cosmos,” composed of nearly 12,000 LEDs installed above the Johnson Museum’s Mallin Sculpture Court at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Another new piece, “Buckyball,” largely inspired by the work of Buckminster Fuller, opened October 25 in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park. Major site-specific works include “Multiverse” in the National Gallery of Art’s in Washington, D.C. and “Hive” for the Bleecker Lafayette Street subway station in Manhattan. His work is also a focal point of the James Corner Field Operations design team that will renew Chicago’s Navy Pier.

Visit The Artist Site


Illuminate The Arts aims to alter the arc of human history through the creation of transformational works of public art. Our mission is to produce contemporary art with civic impact, social activation and global reach to stimulate a culture of generosity and collaboration.

Illuminate the Arts was established to help bring The Bay Lights into existence. We were a small and passionate group of friends driven by a singular goal. Working together and lifted by an extensive constellation of generous believers—we succeeded. On March 5, 2013, the monumental artwork we envisioned with artist Leo Villareal flickered to life. Then something strange and powerful happened—the world dropped its collective jaw. Response to The Bay Lights is so far reaching and profound that it has lit a path beyond itself. Illuminate the Arts, a nonprofit organization formed in pursuit of a singular goal, has been shown its true mission—its reason for existing—by the project it brought to life. The aim of art is higher than art, and so Illuminate the Arts aims very high. Our highly aspirational mission of changing humanity’s future for the better via public art—some would call it impossible—is a reflection of our core beliefs. The best of our projects will always be radically accessible, free to experience and widely viewable.

Visit Illuminate The Arts


Illuminate The Arts wishes to acknowledge the extraordinary support of those who donated to the project for the first two-year run and the most recent campaign creating the path for permanence, without whom The Bay Lights would not be possible.


Matt Mullenweg

JP Conte

Commune Hotels and Resorts


Paul & April Buchheit

Lisa & Douglas Goldman Fund

Ben Davis

John & Marcia Goldman Fund

Mimi and Peter Haas Fund

Marcela Panetta

Lisa & John Pritzker Family Fund

Rob Weltman Fund

Charles Schwab

Goldman Fund

Sakana Foundation

Baum Foundation, The Melva Bucksbaum Family & The Raymond Learsey Family

Bill Brady

Ron Conway

Chip Conley

Marissa Mayer, Zachary Bogue & Macallister Bogue

Drusie Davis Family Fund

Charles Evans Foundation

Adam Gross

Libra Foundation

Alex Lloyd

Nion McEvoy

Alison & Mark Pincus

Sher Foundation

David Spencer

Mary & Steve Swig, Samantha Swig & Eric Bosick

Jack Weeden

Sakurako and William Fisher

Keith and Leslie Blodgett

Richard & Lisa Baker

Sloan & Roger Barnett

Stephen Bechtel Jr. Foundation

Elise Friedman

Linda Gruber

Peter Hirshberg

Claudia Ceniceros & Eric McDougall

Helen Hilton Raiser

Vicki & Roger Sant

David & Roxanne Soward

Diane Wilsey

Mimi and Peter Hass Fund

Drusie Davis

Dave Spencer

Lisa Chadwick

Ed Frank and Sarah R



Hotel Vitale – San Francisco



Richard Frisbie

Robert Ferguson