Since 2004, Embracing Our Differences has used the power of art and prose to promote diversity. One way we accomplish this is through our annual international art exhibition in Sarasota’s Bayfront Park. The juried exhibit consists of 50 billboard-sized works of art, each accompanied by an inspirational quote.
The winning artworks combine a deep understanding of both medium and message. Awards are given for "Best-in-Show Adult," "Best-in-Show Student," and "People's Choice" categories, with the last chosen by visitors to the exhibit. Adult winners each receive $1,000; students receive $1,000 to be directed to their school’s art program. The statements accompanying each artwork are also vital and provide insight into our common humanity—as well as the differences that make us all unique. In 2020, 388,000 people visited the exhibition—bringing the total amount of visitors to more than 3.3 million since 2004.
The 2020 Exhibit had an impressive response to the call for artwork and inspirational quotes, with 16,118 entries pouring in from 127 countries and 50 states. Students from 398 schools around the world submitted artwork or quotes to the juried exhibit and more than 65% of submissions were from students.
The 2021 Exhibit will be on display in Bayfront Park January 20 through April 1, 2021.
Embracing Our Differences’ annual outdoor exhibit is at the heart of a year-round program of activities designed to use art as a catalyst to create awareness and promote diversity.
Also crucial to our mission are our ongoing education initiatives. Presented in partnership with regional school districts and nationally recognized educators, these programs positively impact the lives of thousands of area teachers and students every year. These include workshops and retreats that provide diversity curricula for area educators, free bus transportation for students and teachers to visit cultural venues, and student docent programs in high schools.
Embracing Our Differences continues to lead as one of the largest education programs in southwest Florida. Since 2004, over 397,000 students have participated in EOD education programs with more than 1,032 teachers and 36,000 students participating in 2020 alone.