Art above NYC. Water above all.

Water tank wraps for water awareness. Coming Spring 2014

Who We Are

What Is The Water Tank Project?

The Water Tank Project is the inaugural initiative of Word Above the Street, a non-profit dedicated to fostering environmental awareness and social advocacy through art and technology. In spring 2014, The Water Tank Project will transform the New York City skyline.

Artwork by acclaimed artists and New York City public school students will be wrapped around 100 rooftop water tanks across all five boroughs, celebrating the talents of established and emerging artists, and calling attention to the global water crisis.

Unprecedented in scale, The Water Tank Project is the first public art project to make use of water tanks in this way and will reach millions. For the duration of the project, art above will be complemented by action on the ground through educational programs, public tours, social media activities and a symposium dedicated to inspiring fresh views on global water issues.

Our aim is to produce art as social intervention, to inspire awe and joy, to educate, and to alter attitudes and habits among those who experience The Water Tank Project, ultimately creating meaningful and long-lasting change.

  • © 2013 ICY and SOT

  • © 2013 Marilyn Minter

  • © 2013 Eteri Chkadua


    Portraits by Alessandra Olanow

    Artists interested in learning more about The Water Tank Project’s creative endeavors may email us at:

      The Water Tank Project Team

      Team Members:
      Mary Jordan (bio)
      Founder and Creative Director
      Adam Kaufman
      Head of Production
      Ron Tumpowsky
      Marketing and Sponsorship Director
      Lance Stephens
      David Porras
      Content Producer
      Elana Haviv
      Education Associate
      Matt McClain/THE SHED
      Co-producer and Director of ‘The Making of’ Documentary
      Mitra Khorasheh
      Curatorial Intern
      Alejandro Jassan
      Design Intern
      Henry Buhl
      Founder, Henry Buhl Foundation and Founder, ACE New York
      Kimberly M. Chanin
      Chanin Art Advisory
      Baldev Duggal
      President and CEO, Duggal Visual Solutions
      Kim Estes-Fradis
      Deputy Director of Education and Outreach, NYC Environmental Protection
      Fernando Romero
      Founder and Principal Architect, FR-EE
      Lyn Lear
      Co-founder and Board, the Environmental Media Association (EMA)
      Robert M. Ryan
      Technology Consultant
      David Walentas
      Founder, Two Trees Management Company
      Sustainability advisory panel:
      Aimée Christensen
      Founder and CEO, Christensen Global Strategies
      Angela Ferrante
      Director, Alternative Energy Solutions, Energi, Inc
      Dr. Upmanu Lall
      Director, Earth Institute Water Center, Columbia University
      Adam Joseph Lewis
      Environmental expert and philanthropist
      David Orr
      Paul Sears Distinguished Professor, Environmental Studies and Politics and Special Assistant to the President of Oberlin College and a James Marsh Professor at the University of Vermont
      Alex Prud’homme
      Journalist and Author of ‘The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the Twenty-First Century’

      How To Be A Sponsor

      If you are interested in being a part of or learning more about The Water Tank Project, please contact us at:

      Word Above the Street is dedicated to making a difference by presenting a public art exhibition and awareness campaign of unprecedented scale that will activate the urban landscape and draw attention to the global water crisis. The Water Tank Project would not be possible without the incredible support of numerous corporations, foundations and private individuals.

      The Water Tank Project Support

      Agency of Record:
      Public Relations:
      Zeno Group
      Lead support has been provided by:
      Agnes Gund AG Foundation; the Booth Ferris Foundation; Bettina & Donald L. Bryant, Jr; The Ford Foundation; Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation; The Rockefeller Foundation New York City Cultural Innovation Fund; Newmark Knight Frank; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; and Withers Bergman.
      ACE Foundation; Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Bauer Family; The Andrea & Charles Bronfman Fund at Brandeis University; Stephen and Claudine Bronfman; Goldman Sachs; the Hauptman Family Foundation; The Ronald and Jo Carole Lauder Foundation; The Lear Family Foundation; The Dorothea Leonhardt Foundation; Bobby Foshay Miller; The Jewish Federation of Cleveland, on behalf of The Toby Devan Lewis Philanthropic Fund; Michelle Smith; Solutions, A Donor Advised Fund at Aspen Community Foundation on behalf of Adam Joseph Lewis; Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; David Teiger; and Harry Winston Inc.
      Strategic alliances:
      Columbia Water Center (Earth Institute); NASDAQ OMX; ONE DROP; STUDIO IN A SCHOOL and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
      ABC Realty; ABNY; Acumen Capital Partners; ArtBase; Bettina Equities; Brown Harris Stevens; Common Ground; Cyber City, Inc.; Duggal Visual Solutions; The Durst Organization; Fenwick Keats Realty; Forest City Ratner Companies; Amanda and Glenn Furhman; Halstead Property; Malkin Holdings; Manhattan Skyline; Manhattan Ministorage; REBNY; Rosenwach Tank Company; Jack Resnick & Sons; Rudin Management; RXR Realty; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates; Time Equities Inc.; Vornado Realty Trust; Water Aid; and Waves 4 Water.
      Founders circle:
      Bettina & Donald L. Bryant, Jr; Pippa Cohen; Agnes Gund and Will McDonough.

      Water Education

      Education and Youth Engagement

      The Water Tank Project believes that the seeds of meaningful change take root when nourished by education. To that end, The Water Tank Project collaborated with Children’s Movement for Creative Education (CMCE) to develop ‘Trace the Tap’, a water-focused curriculum that encourages students to explore the importance of clean water from biological, environmental, cultural and economic perspectives.

      ‘Trace the Tap’ reveals to students the bigger picture of a resource they encounter every day and has the potential to empower a new generation of water stewards. It guides them to develop an understanding of the vital importance of water in supporting life, and gives them the tools to investigate local, national and international water issues. The knowledge acquired through this program will give young people a foundation on which to build leadership roles and ultimately educate their communities about one of the most pressing concerns of our time.

      This twelve-week supplemental program, supported by both the Department of Education and the Department of Environmental Protection, will be offered at select New York City schools and on our website.

      Student Tanks

      In 2012, Word Above the Street collaborated with Studio in a School to engage New York City public high school students in a competition for the chance to see their artwork featured in The Water Tank Project. An exhibition celebrating the achievements of these students and raising public awareness about water issues was curated by Bettina Bryant, Mary Jordan and Neville Wakefield and was mounted at David Zwirner Gallery in the fall.

      With the launch of The Water Tank Project in spring 2014, a selection of student artwork will be displayed alongside art by some of today’s leading artists, strengthening the community’s involvement and reinforcing its connection to the project.

      Word Above the Street believes that providing an educational platform within a public art project is crucial to fostering dialogue about critical issues. The artwork produced by student artists for The Water Tank Project reveals a fundamental grasp of the countless issues surrounding water, and gives hope that a new generation of water stewards will help protect our most vital resource.

      ‘The Making Of...’ Documentary

      The Water Tank Project has recently teamed up with Brooklyn-based production company The Shed, which, with help from our sponsors, will be producing a documentary around the project along with a series of shorts for the web. Having a film component will broaden our impact and give us the ability to reach anyone with a computer, TV or smartphone, not just those who live in cities where tanks will be on display.

      As New York will be the first city to host the project it will be the primary focus and backdrop of the film. In the months leading up to the first unveiling of the tanks we will closely track the life of the project, speaking with key players, supporters and, of course, many of the artists themselves. We will also secure interviews with leading voices in the fight for ethical water reform on a global scale. Finally, we will hear from those most closely affected by the lack of access to clean water, and travel to Africa where the idea for The Water Tank Project originated.

      Support for the student exhibition was generously provided by:

      • Agnes Gund
      • The Lily Auchincloss Foundation
      • The Booth Ferris Foundation
      • Duggal Visual Solutions
      • The Ford Foundation
      • David Zwirner

      The Water Tank Project In The World

      In spring 2014, the New York City iteration of The Water Tank Project will be the drop that causes ripples worldwide.

      Cities around the world use tanks to store clean drinking water for everyday consumption. Specialized tanks help us collect rainwater and prepare for emergencies. The Water Tank Project hopes to take advantage of these often overlooked structures and draw attention to their precious contents in cities and venues around the world.

      This map illustrates only a few of the cities across all five continents that possess water tanks waiting to be transformed into beacons of environmental and artistic activism.

      Get More Info On The Water Tank Project

      Mailing list

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      Artists interested in learning more about The Water Tank Project may email:


      For more information about sponsorships and strategic alliance opportunities, please email:


      Want to volunteer for The Water Tank Project? Please email:

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