If you grew up in New York or ever spent some serious time here, you would know that the iconic skyline of skyscrapers and bright buildings has a smaller, less famous cousin. The unofficial landscape of New York neighborhoods is made of rooftop gardens, Christmas lights strung up along concrete patios and GIANT WATER TOWERS. And it’s about time someone gave these lesser-known iconic NYC views their own chance in the spotlight.

The Water Tank Project is trying to transform the giant, often overlooked structures that stand on top of many pre-war buildings in the city.

This is more than just a cool art project. It’s also an ingenious awareness campaign, whose goal is to call attention to the global water crisis experienced in so many developing countries.

When project founder Mary Jordan became sick in Africa, she was taken care of by the women in the village where she’d been staying. When she asked how she could repay them, they simply asked if she could raise awareness for their biggest plight: lack of clean, fresh water. When Mary returned to New York, she looked up and saw the towers. Her idea for the campaign began there.

With the help of New York public school students and acclaimed artists, the art will be wrapped around water tanks throughout the city in this part-exhibition, part-grassroots campaign.

So far, five tanks have been designed. They’re visible in the downtown skyline of Manhattan. The map on the project’s website will update to reveal new locations and installations as they’re completed.

The project also supports education, particularly for young students, about the bigger picture of water’s impact beyond their homes. Combined with initiatives that seek out young and developing artists to give them a chance to shine in the New York spotlight, this project is truly inspiring, making one gorgeous city just a bit more beautiful.

What do you think of this art project with a message? Tell us your thoughts below.