Remember the Sonic Runway at San Jose City Hall? It could be coming back.
Photo courtesy of the San Jose Office of Economic Development.

For nearly four months, more than a million people flocked to San Jose City Hall to catch a glimpse of the jaw-dropping “Sonic Runway,” a light-art installation that converted music into light patterns on 25 giant arches that stretched an entire city block.

The art installation was so wildly popular that city leaders are now looking to bring it back — for at least seven years. The City Council will vote next week on an agreement to build a long-term version of the Sonic Runway.

“Sonic Runway also became popular location for impromptu performances and photo shoots, including the announcement of the San Jose Earthquakes new player, and even a marriage proposal,” Economic Development Director Kim Walesh and Assistant Budget Director Jim Shannon wrote in a joint memo. “On Instagram alone it received over 3,000 tags.”

The stunning art display, which first premiered at Burning Man Project in 2016, opened on the San Jose City Hall plaza on Nov. 3, 2017 and garnered an estimated 1.2 million visitations. More than 1,000 people showed up on opening night to sing and dance to the intricate light patterns that shot down the corridor of arches. The popular installation also drew live performances from choirs, mariachi bands and breakdancers and rock bands.

In response, Mayor Sam Liccardo along with Councilmembers Dev Davis and Raul Peralez, last year recommended looking at bringing the installation back to City Hall on a long-term basis. Earlier this year, the city began working with Zamboom, LLC to re-design Sonic Runway for a long-term installation of up to seven years.

“As part of the new version, the artist team have developed new state-of-the-art sound-responsive light patterns and will regularly update to lighting and sound programming, enabling ongoing new experiences for the public to enjoy,” Walesh and Shannon wrote.

The installation costs for the long-term project are not to exceed $500,000, city administrators said. If approved at the Aug. 13 City Council meeting, it will be installed in June 2020.

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