Connecting Through the Power of Art


Cindy and Donna at the
Brooklyn Bridge Park.

One of my true life passions is making connections with and for other people. I have discovered that nothing rivals the power of art to help make these connections. Art often brings people together for a common worthwhile cause. My friend Donna Dodson is an example of an artist friend who excels and delights in trying to help others.

Ship of Tolerance at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Donna connected with me at the 
“Ship of Tolerance” - a floating art gallery conceived to educate and connect youth of different continents, cultures, and identities through the language of art. 

This innovative global art project was conceived by Ilya and Emilia Kabokov.
Donna first learned of this project while working as an artist in residency at the Verbier Sculpture Park in Switzerland. The ship made a stay at Lake Mortiz in Switzerland back in 2010 for the Art Master’s Festival.

Ship of Tolerance Artists at Work.
Donna came to visit me in NYC to attend the ship’s arrival event in Brooklyn. It was held on a spectacular September day at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, as part of the 17th Annual DUMBO Arts Festival.

The ship’s sails are stitched together from individual paintings by hundreds of local schoolchildren from different ethnic and social backgrounds. They convey a message of tolerance and hope. By participating in the creation of this ship children learn about respecting different cultures and ideas while appreciating how they differ from their own.

Human beings are members of a whole, in creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain.
If you’ve no sympathy for human pain, the name of human you cannot retain.
-- Saadi, Persian poet, 12th century --
Finished Painting for Ship of Tolerance Sail.

Over the summer more than 500 local kids made painting expressing their interpretations of tolerance. Then a selection of 150 student paintings were sewn together to create the sail for the Ship of Tolerance’s stay in Brooklyn.

This project impressed me because through art it allowed local school kids to connect with a global initiative and a critically important message of practicing compassion and tolerance in our daily lives.

Ship of Tolerance Concert in NYC 
The day concluded at The Ship of Tolerance concert at the NY Historical Society  auditorium featuring 
children performers from La Guardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York, the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, the Spivakov Foundation in Moscow and Havana.

Walking out of the concert I mused with my friend Jaies Perez who was also touched and impressed by the talented young musicians, ranging in age from 12-17 years old, who worked diligently together to add yet another artistic dimension to this worthwhile cause and adventure.

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Donna Dodson said...

Such a simple concept- and yet it is able to reach such a wide audience. It is a very powerful project!

Unknown said...

What a great connection between your interest in art and kids!

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