Embracing Our Differences on Display: Sarasota Bayfront Park
Join us for a guided tour of the Embracing Our Differences Exhibit
Since 2004, Embracing Our Differences has used the power of art and prose to promote inclusion, kindness and respect. One way we accomplish this is through our annual international art exhibition in Sarasota’s Bayfront Park and St. Petersburg's Poynter Park. The juried exhibit consists of 50 billboard-sized works of art, each accompanied by a thought-provoking quotation.
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 $2,000; students receive $2,000 to be split with their school’s art or writing 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. The artwork and quotations are separate competitions, judged blindly by separate volunteer committees, and matched together for this exhibit. In 2023, 320,616 people visited the exhibition—bringing the total amount of visitors to more than 4.3 million since 2004.
The 2024 Exhibit had an impressive response to the call for artwork and quotations, with 16,604 entries pouring in from 125 countries and 44 states. Students from 584 schools around the world submitted artwork or quotes to the juried exhibit and more than 65% of submissions were from students.
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 inclusion, kindness and respect.
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 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, more than 587,000 students have participated including 58,122 students and 1,981 teachers during the 2022-2023 school year alone.