Brunswick Review Issue 8

Water color

The water tanks that form a quintessential part of the New York skyline could be the perfect medium for a message about water conservation, writes Brunswick’s Laura Dudley.

So thought artist, film-maker, and activist Mary Jordan. In June 2014, Jordan’s non-profit organization, Word Above the Street, will launch The Water Tank Project. Prominent artists, including Jeff Koons and Ed Ruscha, will transform 100 tanks across the city into a public art project – and campaign.

Jordan’s team – with permission – will scale the rooftops and wrap the tanks in fabric printed with the artists’ designs. “The tanks have a huge presence,” she says, “and we believe this unique combination of an awareness campaign with stunning art will have a big impact too. It is up to the public to make the personal changes necessary to make bigger changes happen. We hope to capture people’s imagination, to change their habits – and spread the word about responsible water use.”

Many of the artists involved are providing their designs for free, while funding for the project has come from foundations and corporate sponsors.

“The next tanks to carry the message will be in Mexico City in 2015,” says Jordan. “As the project ripples worldwide, so will the message that we must all care about how much water we use to protect our most precious resource. We need to activate every single one of us to become a water steward. A water warrior.”

“The average water tank holds 10,000 gallons. The average New Yorker wastes 10,000 gallons a year. That same amount would provide for a whole family in a water-scarce area for five years” Mary Jordan, The Water Tank Project, at Mashable’s Social Good Summit 2013

MARY JORDAN has produced award-winning documentaries in Burma, Africa, Indonesia and India, and worked with Médecins sans Frontières and the International Center for Human Rights.

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