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Focusing on just one of my projects is hard!

Perhaps because I grew up at a time when ADHD meant you just had to find a creative outlet for the ants in your pants, I have always found that focusing on one of my projects at a time, is just not my cup of tea.

I was fascinated with 1001 Nights as a young child. You might recall that the Persian king executes his wife, having discovered her infidelity, and in his grief decides that all women are the same. He begins to marry virgins only to execute each one the next morning before she has a chance to cheat.

Eventually, the last virgin in the kingdom, Scheherazade, offers herself as the next bride and on the night of her wedding begins to tell the king a tale, but does not end it. The king, beguiled by the story, postpones her execution in order to hear the conclusion. The next night, she finishes the tale but begins a new one, and the king, once more eager to hear the conclusion, postpones her execution yet again. So it goes for 1,001 nights.

Can you relate?

For me, life is never more beguiling than when I have new projects looming on the horizon. I know that I am not alone. So if you’re out there and afflicted with the same peculiar personality flaw, read on and see if you can relate.

I’ll begin this blog with my favorite of all projects, The Ship of ToleranceYou might already know that I love kiddies. My fondness for the small monsters extends beyond just caring for their googly eyes. I truly believe they are the only hope we have of fixing our very broken world.

How it began…

My parents (I come from a long line of insane creative types) are artists, and together, we launched this project about ten years ago. The mission of the Ship of Tolerance is to educate and connect the youth of different continents, cultures, and identities through the language of art. The first Ship of Tolerance was built in 2005 in an oasis of Siwa, Egypt to engage children and young adults in active discussion surrounding tolerance in their daily lives.

Children were exposed to different cultures and ideas while creating personal, and often thought-provoking works of art. These drawings and paintings were later sewn together to form a sail, which was hoisted atop the ship. The construction of the ship itself was part of the performance, with student carpenters working under the guidance of master carpenters from Manchester, London.  

My part in this project consists of staging a concert to open the ship. I gather talented munchkins from around the world and drill them into a two-hour performance combining song, dance, and music.  As I type this, I am booking a concert hall in Rome and sending out official invitations for children to get visas to participate in the next Ship opening in Vatican City on May 25th.  SOOOOO…When in Rome, do as the Romans do…and visit me here:

Ciao bambini!!!

Viola Kanevsky
Associate Editor, Just For Fun Editorial for Viola Kanevsky is a pediatric optometrist specializing in custom contact lenses, who has practiced on the Upper West Side of New York City for almost 25 years. An émigré from the former Soviet Union, Dr. Kanevsky lived in Netanya, Brussels, and Miami, until her family settled in New York City in 1979. She earned a BS from Pace University and a Doctorate from SUNY State College of Optometry. She is the Secretary of the New York State Optometric Association board; a board member of the Optometric Society of the City of New York; President of her residential coop for 10 years; she is vice president of the board of the Interschool Orchestras of New York, an organization dedicated to providing musical education to children regardless of ability to pay; serves as Trustee on the board of the Ilya and Emilia Kabakov Foundation and as such, produces benefit concerts for the Ship of Tolerance, an international art project whose goal is to promote tolerance amongst children of differing cultures; she serves on the parent advisory committee of Concerts in Motion, an organization that brings concerts and music therapy to homebound individuals, and is the treasurer of the NY chapter of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH). Dr. Kanevsky also volunteers for the New York Youth Symphony and travels to orphanages in Peru on medical missions.

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