The Ship of Tolerance

Internationally renowned artists Ilya & Emilia Kabakov to present the Ship of Tolerance

01 Sep 2013

September 27  –  October 6, 2013

As part of the 17th annual Dumbo Arts Festival Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, in a joint collaboration with Studio in a School, will present The Ship of Tolerance, in Brooklyn Bridge Park on September 27, 2013, as part of the 17th annual DUMBO Arts Festival. The work will remain on view on the Brooklyn waterfront until October 6th.

The Ship of Tolerance is a globally celebrated project dedicated to educating and connecting children from different continents, cultures, and identities through the universal language of art.  It successfully first launched in Siwa, Egypt in 2005 and was then created in Venice, Italy; San Moritz, Switzerland; Sharjah, UAE; Miami, FL; and Havana, Cuba.  The Ship of Tolerance will also premiere in Moscow in early September. This project was awarded the prestigious Cartier Prize for the best art project of the year in 2010.

“We are thrilled to work with Brooklyn Bridge Park and include The Ship of Tolerance at this year’s festival, to highlight the importance of the Kabakovs’ message and bring this very special project to the Brooklyn waterfront,” said Lisa Kim, Director of the DUMBO Arts Festival.

Under the direction of the Kabakovs and project director, Yulia Dultsina, the Studio in a School art instructors led workshops for hundreds of students, ages 5 through 13, in public schools throughout the five boroughs.  By July, more than 500 children will have made paintings expressing their interpretations of tolerance.  An additional 100 paintings will be created in drawing sessions in city parks on Staten Island and Brooklyn hosted by Studio in a School and The Noble Maritime Collection. A selection of 150 student paintings will be sewn together to create the sail for The Ship of Tolerance. The remaining paintings will be on display throughout the city.

“Children understand tolerance amazingly well. They are mostly unspoiled by the prejudice often carried by the adults.  If we listen to them, perhaps, we can alleviate some of the oppression we witness every day,” commented Emilia and Ilya Kabakov.

Agnes Gund, founder of Studio in a School, states, “Sharing one’s ideas and creations with others is an important part of the creative process, and it is a core value at Studio in a School. Children from 18 Studio sites loved making sails and learning about diversity in the process.”

Over a period of two weeks preceding the unveiling at the Dumbo Arts Festival, the Ship will be built at Miller’s Launch on Staten Island by a team of carpenters from Manchester, UK, lead by David Harold.  Originally modeled after an ancient Egyptian sailing vessel, the Ship is constructed with a wood frame and measures approximately 66-feet long by 23-feet wide.

“The Ship of Tolerance is a unique public art experience because of its placement in the East River, and its collaboration with Studio in a School and dozens of schools throughout the five boroughs,” said Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park. “It is such a wonderful and thoughtful addition to both the festival and the park experience and we are proud to be hosting it beyond the festival weekend.”

The Ship will be launched on September 27, 2013, at 12 p.m. at a celebration which will bring all the children who participated in the project to join in a sail raising ceremony and, for the first time, see which paintings were chosen to create the sail. In addition, The New York Historical Society will present a free Ship of Tolerance concert, on September 27th at 7:00 pm, 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.

On September 28th, the Manhattan Sailing Club will host a Regatta where members will sail their boats from Battery Park to meet The Ship of Tolerance.  The sails boats will also carry children’s drawings symbolizing New York as a port city, which welcomes individuals from all countries, faiths and races.

The Ship of Tolerance will remain in DUMBO for one week and then will pass by Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island on October 6th and, finally, will be docked at the Atlantic Salt Yard (651 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, New York), from October 9-13.  School groups can view the Ship by appointment arranged through the Noble Maritime Collection (718-447-6490).  On October 12th, the Ship will be open to the general public for viewing from 10 am – 7 pm.

“The Ship of Tolerance is a globally recognized work by world-renowned artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov that creatively engages our schoolchildren to further spread the positive message of tolerance in our community and beyond.  We look forward to inviting visitors and locals to see this attraction as part of New York City’s DUMBO Arts Festival this fall,” said NYC & Company’s CEO George Fertitta.


Set amid the backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline in one of the city’s most culturally vibrant neighborhoods, the DUMBO Arts Festival is in its 17th year, transforming the streets, parks, buildings and waterfront into a free art gallery accessible to all. From huge projections across historic buildings to interactive performances, the DUMBO Arts Festival attracts 200,000 visitors over 3 days with the participation of over 500 artists from a variety of disciplines, 100 open studios, 50 galleries and stages and 100 programming partners. This year, the festival will take place September 27-29, 2013.