Professional rainbow maker Tory DiPietro has gifted the city with her luminous heart above the 3rd Street Tunnel in Downtown L.A. The neon installation artist of Mexican and Italian descent has just debuted a new piece called “The Light at the End of the Tunnel — Heart of Los Angeles.” And the timing couldn’t be more appropriate.
As you exit the underpass, you’ll drive through a vivid tunnel of purple, blue, green, yellow, and orange. This kaleidoscope of neon lights leads to a red 22-foot-high heart with “Los Angeles” written in DiPietro’s script at the very center. This glowing work will light up L.A. for the next two years with the possibility of becoming permanent.
It was dreamed up during the darkest days of the pandemic when the city was wading through loss, isolation and uncertainty. “At the time we were social distancing and I pondered how I could bring something joyful to the public they could enjoy under any circumstance like that and still feel hope. That’s when this concept came to mind,” says DiPietro.
After two years of oscillating between hope and panic, cases and hospitalizations have remained on a steady decline. Plus, the mask mandates have finally been dropped in L.A. In parallel, the artist was cutting through the seemingly endless red tape to bring the idea to life. So there couldn’t have been a more fitting way to close this chapter of the pandemic than switching on “The Light at the End of the Tunnel.”
There’s no doubt that this project has been a product of pure love, determination, and collaboration. When she first pitched the concept to her producer, the former head of Cultural Affairs Adolfo Nodal, she imagined it would be a quick and simple exercise. Two years later, they managed to get multiple city permits, clearance from several boards and the funding needed. It’s fiscally backed by the L.A. cultural center LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes with support from the California Community Foundation and the Weingart Foundation.
As someone that struggled through life working jobs she never really enjoyed, DiPietro wanted to inspire optimism. “I hope this piece is a vibrant reminder that love and hope always wins in the end. No matter how bad or how dark things get that they will always get better,” she told us.
DiPietro has been brightening up the city with her colorful works for years, and her glowing creations have been displayed all over the city. You can find out more about her neon heart in 3rd street tunnel here or follow @torydipietro.