A newly restored wave-like art piece rises above Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica.

The Big Wave sculpture by Tony DeLap, completed in 1989 as one of the city’s first public art projects, spans Wilshire Boulevard at Franklin Avenue and has been described as an iconic gateway to Santa Monica.

But city officials noted that over the past 20 years, the artwork had deteriorated substantially, suffering from rust and corrosion, and the lighting system was no longer functional. The sculpture was finally restored after the city retained the team of Exclusive Welding, Inc. and Rosa Lowinger & Associates last year to work with DeLap on the project.

The artist was excited to have his piece once again light up over Wilshire.

“The Big Wave has finally come to life again, after 20-some years,” DeLap said. “I am delighted with the recent restoration and the wonderful new LED lighting, which was not available technically when the piece was installed.

“I thank the city of Santa Monica, and all those associated with this project for their efforts. It is extremely rewarding to see the Big Wave light up Wilshire Boulevard.”

The project team, which began work early last month, cleaned and painted the surface of the sculpture and removed the non-functioning fiber optics and Plexiglas cover. They then installed energy-efficient LED lighting that uses about 50 watts of energy to light the entire sculpture.

The sculpture will be illuminated in the evening hours and is on a smart, astronomically-synced timer, which will turn the lights on a half hour before sunset and off a half hour after sunrise year-round, city officials said.

DeLap is internationally recognized for his abstract sculpture utilizing illusionist techniques and meticulous craftsmanship.

For more information about the city’s Percent for Art Program, http://arts.smgov.net.