Steel Water

299 Louis St NW Grand Rapids

Experience Grand Rapids
Written By Experience Grand Rapids

Get ready to be wowed - Grand Rapids never fails to surprise visitors with the huge variety of things to see and do here: World-renowned art, museums and historic sites for cultural vacationers. World-class golf, recreation and beaches for nature lovers. Incredible farm-to-table restaurants for foodies and wholesome "playcation" fun for families.

On January 25, 1945, Grand Rapids became the first city in the world to add fluoride to its drinking water. Sixty-two years later, the sculpture known as Steel Water was installed to commemorate that historic achievement. Steel Water is the work of Amsterdam-based British sculptor Cyril Lixenberg. He created wave-shaped pieces of three-quarter-inch steel and painted them blue to represent flowing water. The piece is 33 feet high, making it one of the tallest sculptures in the city. It stands in specially designed plaza adjacent to the Grand River and the JW Marriott Hotel.

Lixenberg, who died in 2013, was internationally renowned as a geometric-abstract sculptor and graphic artist. But he felt a special connection to West Michigan, and made frequents visits here in the last 30 years of his life. His sculptural pieces can also be seen locally in Holland and at Grand Valley State University, which owns the world’s largest collection of the artist’s work on paper. Steel Water actually replaced another sculpture that was created to celebrate the city’s fluoride introduction. That piece, an 11-year-old white marble monument, had been vandalized and worn down by the elements. Both sculptures were sponsored by the West Michigan District Dental Society.

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