New Jersey Artist Moving Mountains with His “XO World Project” Sculptures

Photos courtesy of Daniel Anderson


By Steve Sears

Daniel Anderson

For Montclair resident and artist, Daniel Anderson, the work has many times brought tears to his eyes.

And perhaps the most powerful moment in his life came when he visited the site at 4 a.m. the day after the installation of his most monumental artwork at One World Trade Center on the West Plaza at 285 Fulton Street. “I had just a powerful moment of the tranquility and the stillness,” Anderson says. “Until you’re at the World Trade Center and specifically next to the Memorial, you don’t really realize the heaviness of that site at night.  I got to see passersby that normally commuted, people you could tell were regular bikers or joggers on a certain path, and they always kind of stop and say, ‘Whoa – what’s here?!’ It was just very touching to absorb that moment by myself.”

What those passersby and Anderson had their eyes on was Anderson’s stainless steel, 12’ H x 24’ L “XO World” work of art, which was unveiled along with a companion sculpture, “XO Play” (which was installed inside the World Trade Center Memorial Oculus) on the 40th anniversary of World Peace Day on September 21, 2021.

Both sculptures are part of the “XO World Project”, which promotes equality, unity, peace, and love.

“You have the lucky timing of catching me at probably the busiest time of my life,” Anderson says quite happily. “This is the biggest thing I’ve done scale-wise. The one thing that comes to my mind is that I truly and simply am the messenger. To have that opportunity with my partners, The Port Authority and The Durst organization, and to be given the opportunity to be the messenger – if this does not create positive impact via change, via philanthropic scope and implementation into that change, in some ways it’s only an art piece.”

The ‘X’ of the “XO World” sculpture represents a Jack, its arms crossed, a universal symbol of love, and the ‘O’ is represented by a globe which unites the human race. “XO Play” is four children of different races playing a game of Jacks, symbolizing humanity and togetherness. The XO World Project is just as important now in our COVID-19 world. Anderson with his work sought to unite people and heal division, and the fact that his “XO World” is installed at the World Trade Center Memorial site is apropos as well. In the days following the 9/11 attacks, Americans united like never before. “That’s exactly it,” Anderson says. “It just felt like the right time to do it. There was a lot that was put into it, and you can only imagine how intense it was. It just felt very timely.”

Anderson, 42, a contemporary abstract sculptor and painter, was born and raised initially in Pompton Plains, then

“XO Play” sculpture

moved to Wayne with his family and attended Wayne Valley High School. He got recruited to the College of Visual & Performing Arts at Syracuse University, studied in Florence, Italy, and was the sole New York City based artist selected for an annual residency in Melbourne, Australia.

Anderson is grateful for the response his work has received. Many photos have been taken of people crossing their arms in front of their chests, and thereafter were posted online on various social media sites. “We’re developing and expanding the philanthropic outreach of the project and its scope,” Anderson says. “But through communication channels and eventually more of these social media apps and websites, you can just imagine how many legs it has to expand. A lot of people are responsible for it, and I’m very lucky to be surrounded by very talented people as well.”

Anderson’s work is not done by a long shot. “I was driven by the mission to make the statement to the world, and I’m very grateful how many people that it really gets to connect with. We still want to do a lot more. The whole mission is to connect to the XO Project Foundation, and to connect to other partnership foundations in different cities and regions, and really start up a massive philanthropic outreach and statement to bring people together, further progress, and impact lives.”

For more information about Daniel Anderson and the “XO World Project”, visit

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