Reaching for the top / Victoria Heilweil & Phil Spitler

Commissioned by Touchstone Climbing Studio, ZERO1 and the San Jose Public Art Program with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the San Jose Downtown Association

Reaching for the top (2012) is a site-specific LED installation that will be exhibited as part of the ArtHERE program at the Touchstone Climbing Studio from September 12-December 8, 2012.

Silicon Valley embodies entrepreneurship, drive, motivation and innovation. Reaching for the Top utilizes the metaphor of climbing to symbolize the history and driving force behind Silicon Valley. A digitally created landscape of circuit board mountains, blue skies and a single tree will fill the windows of the ticket booth. Within this landscape are silhouettes of individual climbers scaling the mountains to reach the top. This landscape reflects the past, present and future of Silicon Valley and is a conceptual narrative of technology helping people climb to great heights. The single tree symbolizes growth, and the blossoming spirit of entrepreneurship. 

LED lights within the ticket booth will illuminate the landscape giving it a glow. The silhouettes of climbers scaling the mountains will be lit with colored LED lights, which cycle through different hues to bring emphasis and attention to the climbers. Climbers from the gym were photographed to create individual and realistic silhouettes, and to create a connection between the artwork outside and the business within.

This project will be exhibited as 
part of the ArtHERE program at the 
Touchstone Climbing Studio (396 S. 1st Street)
from September 12-December 8, 2012
Free and open to the public

Victoria Heilweil & Phil Spitler

live and work in San Francisco, CA

Artist website


Victoria Mara Heilweil is a nationally exhibited photographic artist. She received her Masters in Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in 1995. Her work has been included at exhibitions at Intersection for the Arts, Southern Exposure, RayKo Photo Center and Root Division in the Bay Area, BC Space Gallery and the Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum in Southern California, the Visual Arts Center in Portsmouth, VA, the Midwest Photo Center in Wichita Kansas and the Washington Square Art Galleries in New York City.

Phil Spitler is a Creative Technologist for Bonfire Labs in San Francisco. He has almost 20 years experience as a motion graphics designer. Phil’s artwork involves hacking the Kinect, and LED sequencing.

Victoria Mara Heilweil and Phil Spitler are a husband and wife team. This is their second collaborative public art project.