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The Bay Lights to Illuminate the San Francisco Waterfront, 3/5

Artist Leo Villareal is poised to transform the western span of the Bay Bridge into the largest LED light sculpture in the world. The Grand Lighting of The Bay Lights will happen on Tuesday, March 5, at 9 pm PT. Virtually anywhere in San Francisco, the Marin hills or the East Bay with a clear view of the north side of the western span of the bridge will provide a spectacular vantage point for this historic moment. A guide to public viewing spots and special offers is available at www.thebaylights.org.

The best view of the artist during the debut of his piece will be online. A one-hour webcast hosted by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom will feature coverage of Villareal live from The Embarcadero, the Grand Lighting soundscape composed by James Healy and documentary footage of The Bay Lights in development. MediaOne will present the multi-camera webcast 8:30-9:30 pm PT on March 5 at www.thebaylights.org. The Grand Lighting webcast also will be archived on this website, which will stream live images of The Bay Lights nightly for the life of the piece.

The Bay Lights comprises 25,000 energy-efficient LEDs installed on the vertical suspension cables of the western span of the Bay Bridge. Measuring 1.8 miles long and more than 500 feet high, this piece of contemporary public art will remain on the bridge for two years.

To create The Bay Lights, Villareal, an internationally acclaimed light artist, viewed the Bay Bridge as his canvas. He synthesized patterns from waves in the San Francisco Bay, traffic, wind and the environment to complete his artistic vision using complex algorithms.

"Being able to create this monumental piece of public art that millions of people will see at no cost is a tremendous honor," says Villareal. "The Bay Lights celebrates light, art and technology in a new way."

The privately funded project cost $8 million-about $2 million are still needed in finishing funds. To give to The Bay Lights, visit www.thebaylights.org.

"It is a gift to the city that will generate much more than it costs," says Ben Davis, the catalyst of The Bay Lights. Conservative estimates show that The Bay Lights will add $97 million to the local economy.

Illuminode has created the commemorative interactive LED pendant for The Bay Lights. They will be presented formally at the private patron event at Hotel Vitale in honor of the Grand Lighting and will provide ongoing support to the fundraising effort. The Bay Lights pendants introduce an interactive element and feature sequences by Leo Villareal. Priced at $300 each, the pendants will be available at www.thebaylights.org starting March 6.

Art.com will offer 100 limited edition prints of James Ewing's photograph of The Bay Lights taken during the first testing session involving the entire western span. Available March 1 for $300, each print will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by Leo Villareal and a portion of proceeds will benefit The Bay Lights fundraising effort.

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