Lewes’ Water Tower public art project on hold

June 11, 2020

The large temporary public art project that was to be on display in Canalfront Park throughout the summer will not happen this year. 

Cliff Diver, chairman of the city’s public art committee, said he’s hopeful that artist Tom Fruin will be able to bring the Water Tower project to Lewes next year. 

Fruin’s water tower is made of colorful, scavenged and reclaimed plexiglass. It resembles rooftop water towers in many cities. Lewes has a similar water tower at its old water plant on Schley Avenue. 

“Right now, everything is postponed, not canceled,” Diver said. “As the summer goes by and we get closer to the fall, we’ll turn around and look at the whole project for next year, whether it’s this project, another sculptural piece or anything at all.” 

In talking with Fruin, Diver said the artist would have had difficulty getting the water tower to Lewes. His New York studio in not considered essential, so it’s not possible to get his crew of workers in there to dismantle and load up the piece, Diver said.

Diver said it’s possible the committee will try to do a small public art project this year that is free or has a nominal cost. 

All the money that was donated to the city to help pay for the water tower project will be refunded, Diver said. Fruin has agreed to refund the city’s deposit too. 

A grant the city received from Delaware Division of the Arts will still be available if the city moves forward with the project in the future, Diver said. 

Diver was excited to bring the water tower project to Lewes in order to spark discussion about public art. 

“Everyone will see this through their own set of elements,” Diver said during a January mayor and city council meeting. “[Canalfront Park] is where the city comes together. People will share their own points of view. If they do, that builds community and society.”

It may still happen. Just not this year. 

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