San Francisco-based crowdfunding platform Crowdtilt and Illuminate the Arts, announced on Thursday they are launching a civic crowdfunding initiative as part of an effort to keep The Bay Lights by artist Leo Villareal shining until 2026. The campaign can be found at The Bay Lights website and aims to raise $1.2 million of the total funds needed to preserve the world’s largest LED sculpture, which illuminates the Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge at night.
Since March 2013, the 25,000 white LED bulbs that span the almost two miles between Treasure Island and San Francisco have transformed the waterfront. The installation is a spectacular technical achievement and a model for how public art can impact a city; however, the project is slated to end in March of 2015 and the lights will come down unless Illuminate the Arts can secure $12 million in donations to keep the lights blazing into 2026.
“At Crowdtilt, we envision a world shaped by crowdfunding, a world that can be positively transformed through the power of shared resources, so we are thrilled to partner with Illuminate the Arts to support a project that is increasingly becoming a shared icon of the Bay Area,” said James Beshara, CEO of Crowdtilt. “This initiative is not about corporate sponsors, or large private donations, but instead a way for everyone who has been awed by the beauty of the installation, everyone who has brought out-of-town guests to the bridge, everyone whose commute has been transformed by the spectacle, to demonstrate their support of The Bay Lights and keep one of the biggest public art displays alive.”
Chairman of Illuminate the Arts Ben Davis stated,“The Bay Lights is a stunning achievement which has raised the bar worldwide on what can be accomplished with art in large public places. It has shown the tremendous impact that art can have on an environment, on an economy, on a sense of civic pride. With the launch of this crowdfunding campaign, we hope to bring a larger community of smaller donors together to support this public masterpiece in a very personal way.”
If successful, this will be the largest civic crowdfunding campaign to date. The cost to power The Bay Lights is just $30 a day, and this campaign will tap the local community of roughly one million people residing in San Francisco and the 250,000 people who cross the Bay Bridge every day to encourage a small contribution that can add up to keeping The Bay Lights shining.
So far, the campaign has raised $185,057 from 3,939 backers. It will run for the next 44 days.
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