This guest post is written by Ben Davis, visionary of THE BAY LIGHTS, a project to light up the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, CA to raise money and awareness for Bay Area arts organizations. Check out his project at www.causes.com/thebaylights
THE BAY LIGHTS is an iconic light sculpture designed by internationally renowned artist Leo Villareal. Similar to the ambitious lighting of the Eiffel Tower for its 100th anniversary, THE BAY LIGHTS will commemorate the Bay Bridge’s 75th Diamond Anniversary (at seven times the scale of the famous Parisian landmark). The installation will live for two years, providing a stunning fine arts experience for the entire Bay Area and its visitors. More than 50 million people will directly experience the artwork, with a billion more seeing it in the media and online.
When it was first proposed, many deemed the project impossible. But something magic happened. The people within the agencies required to permit the project became inspired by it. There was no precedent for a project of this scale, so new paths for collaborative success were established. The success of THE BAY LIGHTS will be a new model for what is possible within these agencies.
The next seemingly impossible hurdle is money–$7 million in private funding is needed. Although nearly all of that money would go to creating jobs, the sum seemed daunting—until more magic happened: a generous initial donor provided more than $100k before even being asked. This lit a fundraising fire. A pipeline of heroic patrons now exists—people with the means and character to give upward of a million dollars—and the response to date has been highly encouraging. The project is now flush with optimism and there is confidence that the required funding will come.
Some doubted that the community would support such an ambitious project. In a polarized world, how could we gain widespread support? Then more magic: the project was adopted by several of the Bay Area’s leading arts and cultural institutions who vowed to work collaboratively toward its success. An ever-expanding community has stepped forward in a magnanimous gesture of support, and the region is pulling together to make an impossible vision become a shared reality. It’s inspiring to be a part of.
And now Causes has invited The Bay Lights to join its generous community at causes.com/thebaylights. I hope you’ll take a moment to explore the project, give what you can, and help spread the word. And when the project goes live in the fall of 2012, I hope you’ll find a way to join us in celebration, knowing you’re a part of the community that brought The Bay Lights to life.