Illuminate SF Festival of Light kicks off in San Francisco

Now in its sixth year, “Illuminate SF Festival of Light” celebrates 37 dramatic, eco-friendly light art installations located throughout San Francisco.

Located in 17 different neighborhoods, the works are accessible by public transport and many are free for all to view. From Thanksgiving 2018 through New Year’s Day 2019, art lovers are invited to embrace the power of light and tour San Francisco’s art installations by a diverse range of 30 local and world renowned light artists.

The works come to life at dusk throughout the city with a luminescence that will turn any evening into an illuminating adventure, especially when combined with exploring San Francisco’s world-class museums performing arts and restaurants. The light art can be found in neighborhoods in the Embarcadero along the waterfront, in North Beach, Civic Center, Central Market, the Inner Sunset, South of Market (SoMa), Potrero, Mission Bay, Bayview, Golden Gate Park, Hayes Valley, South Beach, the Castro, the Mission District and even flying in or out of San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

There are four temporary light artworks on view, including:

  • Nightbloom, Lightswitch (2018), Conservatory of Flowers: 101 John F. Kennedy Dr. Dec. 2, 2018 – Jan. 9, 2019
  • Squared, Charles Gadeken (2018), Hayes Valley, Patricia’s Green, Octavia and Hayes Streets, through 2018
  • Point of View, Saron Paz and Matthew Passmore (2018), Pier 27
  • Glow, Various Artists, Exploratorium, Pier 15 on the Embarcadero, Dec. 6, 2018-Jan. 1, 2019

There are 27 permanent light artworks within the city’s 49 square miles, including:

  1. The Bay Lights, Leo Villareal (2013), San Francisco Bay Bridge West Span, Waterfront
  2. Language of the Birds*, Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn (2008), Broadway and Columbus Ave., North Beach
  3. Lamp of the Covenant, Dave Lane (2015), Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., SOMA
  4. Yud, Daniel Libeskind (2008), 736 Mission St., Contemporary Jewish Museum, SOMA
  5. PaRDes, Daniel Libeskind (2008), 736 Mission St., Contemporary Jewish Museum, SOMA
  6. “monument” for V Tatlin, Dan Flavin (1969), SFMOMA 5th Floor, 151 Third St., Yerba Buena
  7. Untitled (in Honor of Leo at the 30th Anniversary of His Gallery), Dan Flavin (1987), SFMOMA, 151 Third St., Yerba Buena
  8.  Lumina, MADLAB (2013), 181 Third St., W San Francisco Hotel, SOMA
  9. San Francisco at Night: Model Art Map, Lisa Gemmiti (2011), W SF Hotel, 181 Third Street, SOMA
  10. Constellation*, Nayland W. Blake (1996), San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St., Civic Center
  1. Buckyball, Leo Villareal (2016), The Exploratorium, Pier 15 on the Embarcadero at Green St.
  2. Skygarden, James Turrell (2007), 90 Seventh Street facing Mission St., Central Market
  1. “…and my room still rocks like a boat on the sea” (Caruso’s Dream), Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn (2014), 55 Ninth St., south of Market St., Central Market
  2. Three Gems, James Turrell (2005), de Young Museum, Barbro Osher Sculpture Garden, Golden Gate Park
  3. Handsignals*, Matthew Passmore/MoreLab (2014) McCoppin at Valencia St., SOMA
  4. Spiral of Gratitude*, Shimon Attie and Vale Bruck (2015), 1245 Third St., Mission Bay
  5. Ocean Mirror with Fragments, Jim Campbell (2007), Saunders Court, UCSF, Inner Sunset
  6. Monarch, Cliff Garten (2015), Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices, 1600 Owens St., Mission Bay
  7. Anima, Jim Sanborn (2006), Alexandria Real Estate Equities, 1700 Owens Street, Mission Bay
  8. Archipelago*, Anna Valentina Murch (2014), 1001 Potrero Ave., San Francisco General Hospital, Potrero
  9. Ethereal Bodies*, Cliff Garten (2014), 1001 Potrero Ave., San Francisco General Hospital, Potrero
  10. Bayview Rise, Haddad – Drugan (2014), Pier 92 at 3rd Street & Cargo Way, Bayview
  11. “Hope Will Never Be Silent,” Illuminate (2017), Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro St.
  12. The Seed, Aphidoidea (2017), Jane Warner Plaza, Castro
  13. IIuminavia, HYBYCOZO (2017), Hotel VIA, ground level space at Bar VIA, 136 King Street, South Beach
  14.  LOVE OVER RULES (2017), Hank Willis Thomas, Annie Alley at Mission St., Yerba Buena
  15. Day for Night (2018), Jim Campbell, Top of Salesforce Tower, 415 Mission St., Embarcadero

Six permanent light art installations at San Francisco International Airport include:

  • Ceiling Flood*, Keith Sonnier (1999), International Terminal, Boarding Area G, Level 2, Post-Security
  • Four Sculptural Light Reflectors*, James Carpenter (2000), International Terminal, Main Hall, Level 3, Pre-Security
  • Light Beams for the Sky of a Transfer Corridor*, Vito Acconci (2000), International Terminal, A-G, Level 2, Pre-Security
  • Wind Portal*, Ned Kahn (2000), International Terminal between BART Station and AirTrain
  • Spirogyrate*, Eric Staller (2014), Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, Level 2, Post-Security
  • Sky*, Merge Conceptual Design (2014), Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, Level 2, Post-Security

The official website www. was made possible by The visually stunning website features photographs, videos, interactive and downloadable light art maps, events listings, artist information, best viewing and more to make the artworks easy and accessible.

*The San Francisco’s Civic Art Collection encompasses more than 3,500 objects, including historic monuments, murals, paintings, sculptures, installations and other media. The San Francisco Arts Commission oversees this rich and diverse collection, which helps distinguishes the city as an important cultural destination. To learn more visit

The San Francisco Travel Association offers a guide to all of the installations and artists at

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