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Glowing Stained-Glass Water Tower to Summer in Gowanus

By Leslie Albrecht | July 17, 2015 1:33pm | Updated on July 19, 2015 9:50pm
 Tom Fruin's "Dutch Masters" water tower will spend the summer at Bond and Degraw streets, he said.
Artist Brings Glowing Stained Glass Water Tower to Gowanus for the Summer
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The stained-glass water tower spotted recently near the Gowanus Canal will stay for the summer, its creator told DNAinfo New York.

Artist Tom Fruin says people who visit his "Dutch Masters" stained glass water tower after dark will get a special treat — the sculpture will light up nightly from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The water tower at Degraw and Bond streets was part of a recent show at Ray Smith Studio that exhibited portraits of artists posing with their work, Fruin said. The piece was last displayed publicly at a Chelsea gallery in September 2014 and had been gathering dust in storage at Fruin's studio since.

"When I had the opportunity to display it outside I jumped on it," Fruin said. "I like to put things in the public realm so you reach the whole audience and it's not in a precious gallery or museum that you have to pay to go. It's back there in its natural environment."

The 14-foot water tower was made out of discarded plastic salvaged from Chinatown sign shops. It's called "Dutch Masters" because some of the colored pieces are modeled after the paper rings on Dutch Masters cigars.

The multi-colored tribute to the city's skyline is one of four Fruin has created. Two others are well-known to New Yorkers. His first water tower sculpture sits atop 20 Jay St. and has become a symbol of DUMBO that's visible from the Manhattan Bridge.

In December 2014, he installed "Watertower 3: R.V. Ingersoll" on top of 334 Furman St., the headquarters of Brooklyn Bridge Park. There's also one other water tower sculpture by Fruin in a grassy field in Wisconsin at the corporate headquarters of Uline, a shipping supplies company.

Fruin said he hopes his foray into Gowanus will make viewers who stumble upon the sculpture stop and appreciate their surroundings.

“There wasn’t any official notice about this," Fruin said. "It's nice to pop up in people’s lives. It’s like serendipity I guess."