History of Embracing Our Differences

2018

  • Thousands of art and quote submissions have been received from around the world to be narrowed down to a lucky final few by our judges. The 2018 winning submissions will be posted soon on Facebook and in our Galleries
  • 44 teachers participated in the Art Teacher Retreat in preparation for creating and submitting student art for the 2018 and 2019 exhibits. 
  • Embracing Our Differences partnered with the World Rowing Federation and Benderson Development Company to present a one-off exhibit during the 2017 World Rowing Championships. Created with art submitted by more than 2,200 students from 40 area schools, the exhibit represented the life and culture of 59 of the participating countries. More than 47,000 spectators, 1,700 athletes and 7,700 students attended.
  • Embracing Dr. Seuss' Differences Day will be held on March 2, 2018 and will benefit more than 6,600 students in 392 classrooms at 46 elementary schools and involve more than 300 volunteers. For the first time, every student will receive a  book to add to their home library.

2017               

  • Exhibit welcomes 212,000 visitors.
  • Submissions grow to 10,761 (a 29% increase over 2016) representing 115 countries, 48 states and 204 local, national and international schools.
  • 42,537 students from 229 schools participate in the Embracing Our Differences Education Initiative.
  • Total student participation since 2004 exceeds 300,000.
  • 12,703 students participated in the Embracing Our Differences Make-A-Day of It! Program.
  • 5,578 students received docent led tours of the exhibit by Riverview High School students.
  • 153 teachers participated in educator workshops presented by Embracing Our Differences bringing the total, since 2004, to 1,293.
  • Embracing Dr. Seuss' Differences Day involves 11,476 students, 636 classrooms and 475 volunteers.
  • More than 4,000 Dr. Seuss books distributed to classrooms and Title I students for their home libraries.
  • More than 5,500 students attend live performances from nationally acclaimed anti-bullying Allstar Nation Tour.
  • Embracing Our Differences was one of five finalist for WEDU’s “Non-Profit of the Year” award.

2016

  • Exhibit welcomes 209,000 visitors.
  • Submissions grow to 8,350 representing 104 countries, 44 states and 106 schools.
  • 37,877 students participate in Embracing Our Differences education programs.
  • Total student participation since 2004 exceeds 250,000.
  • Second annual Three-Day Summer Diversity Institute welcomes 51 participating educators.
  • Embracing Dr. Seuss' Differences Day involves 360 volunteers and 6,258 students.
  • More than 2,000 Dr. Seuss books distributed to classrooms and Title 1 students in Sarasota County.
  • More than 5,000 students attend live performances from nationally acclaimed anti-bullying Allstar Nation Tour.
  • 12,469 students participate in the Make-A-Day of It! Program. 
  • Recipient of State of Florida's Division of Cultural Affairs "Diversity and Inclusion" Award.
  • Embracing Our Differences inspired sculpture at Orange Avenue and Main Street was unveiled. 

2015

  • Annual visitors grow to 271,000.
  • Submissions grow to 6,454 representing 80 countries, 42 states and 118 schools.
  • Total student participation since 2004 exceeds 210,000.
  • First annual Three-Day Summer Diversity Institute with 50 educators participating.
  • Embracing Dr. Seuss' Differences Day involves 219 volunteers and 3,006 students.
  • More than 3,600 students attend live performances from nationally acclaimed anti-bullying Allstar Nation Tour.
  • Recipient of 2015 WEDU "Be More Enriched" Award

2014

  • Bradenton's Riverwalk exhibit expands to two months - April & May.
  • Annual visitors to both exhibits exceed 250,000.
  • Submissions grow to 6,079 representing 52 countries, 44 states and 126 schools.
  • Total student participation since 2004 exceeds 165,000.
  • Creative writing and diversity teacher workshops expand to Manatee County.
  • First annual Embracing Dr. Seuss' Differences Day involves 121 volunteers and 2,798 students.
  • More than 4,300 students attend live theatrical performances through partnerships with Florida Studio Theatre, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.

2013  Tenth Anniversary

  • Second exhibit venue opens at Bradenton's Riverwalk Park.
  • Total exhibit visitors since 2004 exceeds 1,500,000.
  • Annual student participation grows to 25,464 representing 180 schools.
  • Survey of 191 participating teachers reveals that 89.6% rated the Embracing Our Differences education initiative as "excellent" or "very good."
  • Students benefiting from the Make-A-Day of It! Program grows to 13,877.
  • Patterson Foundation presents Embracing Our Differences with its 2013 "Collaborative Innovator" Award.
  • President Barack Obama presents Embracing Our Differences with his President's Volunteer Service Award.

2012

  • Submissions grow to 4,502 from artists representing 53 countries and 40 states.
  • Make-A-Day of It! Program expands to eleven education partners benefiting 8,111 students.
  • First annual two-day Art Teacher Retreat presented in partnership with Ringling College of Art and Design.
  • Student docents provide tours to 10,910 K-8 students.
  • Artists attending Annual Artists & Quoters Reception travel from as far away as the Philippines.

2011

  • Sarasota exhibit expands to two months - April & May.
  • Total exhibit visitors since 2004 grows to 1,000,000. Patterson Foundation survey of teachers reveals that 57% have participated in our educational initiative — more than any other organization.
  • Embracing Our Differences continues to be one of the largest education initiatives in Southwest Florida.
  • First annual luncheon held at Michael's on East.

2010

  • Annual student participation grows to 20,000.
  • First annual “Writing About Diversity” teacher workshop in partnership with the Kennedy Center’s Partners-in-Education.
  • Make-A-Day of It! Program begins with five education partners benefiting 7,000 students.
  • Student Docent Program begins with 38 docents from Riverview High School IB program.
  • Riverview High School Co-Existence Club formed immediately becoming the school’s largest student organization.

2009

  • Total student participation since 2004 exceeds 50,000.
  • First organization to create and distribute teacher lesson plans using Sarasota County School’s ActivBoard system.
  • First organization to utilize Sarasota County school system Safari video conferencing system allowing teachers to participate in on-line training classes.

2008  Fifth Anniversary

  • Total exhibit visitors since 2004 exceeds 500,000.
  • Submissions grow to more than 2,000 from artists representing 30 countries.
  • Annual student participation exceeds 10,000.
  • Exhibit includes art submitted by a fourth grade student representing Sarasota Sister City - Xiamen, China.
  • Sister Cities Association of Sarasota becomes fourth Community Partner.

2007

  • Submissions grow to more than 1,000 from artists representing 12 states.
  • School based “education initiative” adopted as top priority.
  • Ringling College of Art and Design becomes third Community Partner.

2006

  • Annual student participation exceeds 7,000.
  • First education partnership established with the Sarasota Film Festival.
  • Gulf Coast Community Foundation and The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee become first two Community Partners.

2005

  • Annual visitors to the exhibit grows to more than 100,000.
  • Exhibit features art submitted by 124 artists from Southwest Florida.