Starting at dusk on November 9th, dozens of glowing light art sculptures will flicker into view around San Francisco’s cityscape. This is the 10th annual Illuminate SF Festival of Light, an SF tradition that has brought us some of the most beloved public art in the city.
Get ready to enjoy a total of 62 glowing light installations throughout San Francisco, including both never-before-seen temporary displays and permanent sculptures that we all know and love.
New sculptures for 2022
The Wind-Baffles by !melk design firm
- Permanent, 44 Mary St.
- Find these illuminated sculptural wind breakers in SF’s 5M neighborhood in SOMA.
Helical Trace by Jim Campbell
- Permanent, 100 Channel St.
- This glowing helix suspended in LUMA Hotel’s lobby looks different from every angle and is amplified in the reflection of the windows.
Franchise Freedom by Studio Drift
- Temporary, dates TBD
- An acclaimed aerial light performance created with 600 drones will fly from Treasure Island to the Embarcadero for 5 nights in January.
Lucy in the Sky by Erwin Redl
- Permanent, Union Square/Market Street Muni station.
- Hundreds of translucent, color-changing LED light panels are suspended in the Union Square/Market Street Muni station on the concourse level.
Untitled Van Ness Avenue installation by Jorge Pardo
- Permanent, Geary St. and Van Ness Ave.
- A series of playful and colorful glowing orbs sprouts up along the street.
Peace in the Middle East by Taravat Talepasand
- Permanent, 701 Mission St.
- An intricate neon sculpture depicting the word “peace” in Farsi is suspended from the ceiling in Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Grand Lobby.
Lantern Stories by Yu-Wen Wu
- Permanent, 600 block of Grant Ave.
- Twenty-nine suspended lanterns are illustrated with notable Chinese-Americans including Bruce Lee, Amy Tan, and Cecilia Chang.
GLOW: Discover the Art of Light at the Exploratorium
- Temporary, November 17, 2022 – January 29, 2023
- Six artists will take over the Exploratorium for this beloved annual light art exhibition.
- The Last Ocean by Jen Lewin: An interactive landscape representing an ice field made from reclaimed ocean plastic.
- Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram: A large glowing moon sculpture modeled after NASA imagery to show every detail of the moon’s surface.
- All the Flowers are for Me (Turquoise) by Anila Quayyam Agha: A suspended steel cube with intricate patterns inspired by Islamic textiles and architecture casts an immersive shadow.
- Teardrop (After Robert Irwin) by Anila Quayyam Agha: A laser-cut steel disk carved with intricate patterns casts fragmented shadows that appear to move from different perspectives.
- Entangled Attraction by Sally Weber and Craig Newswanger: Gaze upwards at 300 spiraling lights orbiting around each other in unpredictable swirling patterns.
- RayLights by Craig Newswanger: A dynamic light artwork changes color and pattern sequences every time a guest claps, talks, or sings.
- The Enchanted Tree by Burt Libe: This glowing tree with a hand-built circuit board used to light up at the sound of clapping during the 1970s and 1980s at the Exploratorium. It’s now over 50 years old and doesn’t function perfectly, but you can tap your foot on a pedal to make it light up.
Let’s Glow SF in Downtown SF
- Temporary, December 2-11
- The nation’s largest holiday projection mapping display will light up 4 buildings in the Financial District.
More about Illuminate SF and this year’s festival
Illuminate SF began back in 2013 with just six glowing installations inspired by Leo Villareal’s The Bay Lights on the Bay Bridge. The collection has since grown to a total of 62 sculptures, ranging from Joseph Kosuth’s W.F.T. (“Word Family Tree”) spelled out on the façade of Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, to Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn’s Language of the Birds, a flock of luminous books suspended in the air at Broadway and Columbus.
The festival comes to us courtesy of SF Travel and 5M in collaboration with countless local artists, businesses, organizations, and cultural partners. Nearly 80% of this year’s works are free and publicly accessible for anyone to enjoy.
Be sure to enjoy the Illuminate SF Festival of Light from November 9 through the end of January at locations all around San Francisco.