Signal Public Artwork Unveiled on Treasure Island

The work, created by San Francisco conceptual artist Tom Loughlin, is constructed of materials from the old Bay Bridge Eastern Span

On September 22, 2019, San Francisco conceptual artist Tom Loughlin unveiled Signal, a massive public sculpture on the western edge of Treasure Island that invites the public to consider our place in the natural landscape and the tools we build to traverse it.  It is the largest and most ambitious public art project to result from the Bay Bridge Steel Program and the first large-scale Bay Bridge Steel Program work to debut in the Bay Area.

Signal is a steel ring, 25 feet across, made from the former span’s huge box-shaped and riveted top chords, the uppermost horizontal girders of the truss sections of the bridge. With a panoramic view of the Bay Area and its bridges, visitors can step into the ring and experience soft pulses of light from the signal lamp, (a rare, original signal light from the top of the bridge) and a low, cyclical vibration calibrated to mimic a foghorn.

“The aim of the piece is to call to mind various rhythms that intersect in the San Francisco Bay,” says Loughlin. “The pulsing light and sound of the sculpture point to the navigational aids, bridges, and other structures we’ve put into the bay to assist our travel. I hope they will also evoke the natural rhythm of tides and sunrises and weather changes, and our own biological rhythms.”

Image of Signal public artwork installation

“Congratulations to Tom Loughlin on his successful completion of Signal, his Bay Bridge steel sculpture project,” says Jill Manton, Director, Public Art Trust and Special Initiatives, San Francisco Arts Commission. “It is the first project to be implemented from the salvaged steel to be placed within sightlines of the Bay Bridge, its place of origin and the sole source of the materials used in his sculpture. Tom’s work has given new life to the 83-year-old section of salvaged steel, enabling the material to continue its humble service and benefit to the public in this new incarnation.”

Signal will be free and open to the public daily starting September 22, 2019 and continuing at least through 2022 under a Use Permit for Temporary Display of Public Art between the artist and the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA). Signal is located on the western edge of Treasure Island, only 50 meters from the restaurant Mersea at the intersection of Avenue of the Palms and 9th Street.

Signal has received significant logistical support from the Oakland Museum of California, the Treasure Island Development Authority, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and CalTrans. In addition, the Headlands Center for the Arts’ fiscal sponsorship of the project has made it possible for donors to make tax-deductible contributions to bring Signal to Treasure Island.  For more information, the public can visit

About the artist:

Conceptual artist Tom Loughlin is interested in systems of meaning and the ways they function, fail, and/or obscure things they’re intended to illuminate. Loughlin has been a studio artist at Minnesota Street Project since 2016 and was an affiliate artist at Headlands Center for the Arts from 2014-2016. He received his MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute and his JD from the University of California, Berkeley. He has shown work at YBCA, The Lab, Queen’s Nails, Google’s Mountain View headquarters, and Civic Center Park in Denver, CO, among other venues. His work can be seen at

Image of Signal public artwork