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Sunday, October 17, 2021
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After the 9/11 attacks, this artist has been painting the rebuilding of the WTC complex for 20 years

With a direct view of One World Trade Center on the 71st floor of 3 World Trade Center, abstract artist Todd Stone paints rent free in 40,000 square feet of unleased space.

Several artists have studio spaces in raw, unleased floors of 3 World Trade Center, thanks to billionaire real estate mogul Larry Silverstein and Silverstein Properties chief marketing & communications officer, Dara McQuillan. Once the floors are leased, the artists are shuffled to another floor or another building.

Stone, 70, has spent 12 years painting the rebuilding effort of the World Trade Center complex all throughout Silverstein Properties, from the 48th floor of 7 World Trade Center to the 67th floor of 4 World Trade Center to the 71st floor of 3 World Trade Center.

“When I come up here, I am continually moved by the rebuilding effort and the energy that’s gone into this place,” Stone said. “This is still under construction and these newly built towers are sheeted in reflective glass that are continuing to present these new vistas that no one’s ever seen before, and I feel very privileged to be up here at altitude, we’re at 800 feet up here, watching these city reflections bounce around.”

Will he bounce around the World Trade Center complex for another 12 years?

“Lord knows,” Stone said. “I am still fully moved when I come down to the Trade Center. I have three paintings that I’m working on that were inspired by 9/11. I feel it. I feel a place in this community that I’m part of this rebuilding effort. I see that there’s a role for me here. I spent a lot of time as an abstract artist in my four white walls working out of my head. There’s something extremely gratifying, being an artist and a member of this community that’s down here in lower Manhattan.”

Stone’s exhibit “Renewal” at the NYC Culture Club, a gallery inside the Oculus that’s part of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, shows just how deeply ingrained he is in the lower Manhattan community.

His paintings in oil and watercolor document the 20-year rebuilding efforts of the World Trade Center complex.

“I’m hoping this picture triggers a recognition of the strength of our city, the strength of our country to renew itself in the wake of what happened down here,” he said.

“Renewal” closes on Sunday (October 3).

(Production: Roselle Chen, Andrew Hofstetter)

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