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Bay Bridge lights could return in 2024 with nearly $11 million raised

A light show illuminating cables on a suspension bridge shine at night.
The iconic Bay Bridge light show that went dark in March could return as soon as next fall with fundraising nearly 90% complete. | Source: Rick Friedman/Getty Images

The Bay Bridge light show that went dark in March could return by the fall, organizers said, as they get closer to raising the money needed to restore the iconic light art installation.

Illuminate, the nonprofit that installed and operated The Bay Lights for 10 years, has raised almost 90% of its $11 million fundraising goal, founder Ben Davis told The Standard on Thursday.

The money is being raised through a $1 million crowdsourced fundraiser and by soliciting $10 million in private donations. Some of the project's biggest donors include WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum and Parnassus Investments founder Jerry Dodson, who have each pledged $1 million, Davis said.

RELATED: Pulling the Plug on the Bay Bridge’s Light Installation

Now, all but roughly $1.5 million has been raised to restore the project, with the crowdsourced fundraiser over halfway toward its $1 million goal. Davis said he expects the lights to return to the bridge within eight to 10 months if the rest of the funding comes in.

"We're eager to bring this back," he said.

Illuminate, which also shined lasers over San Francisco during APEC, pulled the plug on the light show after the harsh conditions near the bridge—including fog, salty air and even lightning strikes—damaged the 25,000 LEDs to the point they were too costly to repair. When the 1.8-mile light show returns, the nonprofit plans to double the LED count to 50,000, making it visible to more of the Bay Area, including the Bayview neighborhood, Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island.

"It's not to make it brighter but to make it more accessible," Davis said.

Davis said artist Leo Villareal, who designed the original Bay Lights display, is returning to design the new light show. Davis expects it will be similar to the one that was turned off in March, using all white lights to form randomized designs.

Prospective donors can contribute at

Garrett Leahy can be reached at