Wed, Feb 2, 4pm - Thu, Feb 24, 2022 12pm

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tolerance posters in collection

THE TOLERANCE PROJECT, on view in the colonnade windows of the Foundation Building, promotes social acceptance through the power of design. Launched by artist-activist Mirko Ilić, THE TOLERANCE PROJECT seeks to raise awareness of intolerance and to foster positive change among people everywhere. Inspired by the annual “House of Tolerance” festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia, an important platform dedicated to reminding the public of the horrors of the Holocaust and advocating for positive social change, THE TOLERANCE PROJECT poster project is similarly an urgent reminder of the importance of tolerance in these difficult times and finds a natural home at The Cooper Union, which has served as a New York City beacon for social activism, education, and advocacy for more than a century and a half. 

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Click to view the Online Gallery version. Photo by Marget Long

Each iteration of THE TOLERANCE PROJECT features posters by local artists whose only direction is to illustrate the word “tolerance” in their native language. The posters appear in public spaces in parks, on university campuses, even on buses—engaging with as wide a cross-section of the population as possible.

It’s all part of an effort to spread respect and thoughtfulness in a world increasingly split by distinctions of race, religion, sexuality, and national origin. In posters that are by turns playful and profound, surprising, and original, THE TOLERANCE PROJECT utilizes the unique power of design to remind us what we all have in common—and what it takes to bridge the divides between us. 

Located at 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.