The 17th annual Embracing Our Differences Art Exhibit is celebrating diversity by showcasing the contest's winning images at Bayfront Park through April 5. The exhibit consists of 50 billboard-sized images and accompanying quotes from international students and artists, displaying messages of tolerance, acceptance and unity. Since the program's establishment in 2004, students have been invited every year to view the exhibit and learn from its heartfelt mission. 

This year, more than 16,000 entries from 127 countries and 50 states were received. Awards and prizes of $1,000 were granted for the "Best-in-Show Adult," "Best-in-show Student" and "People's Choice" categories. The contest's winning quote also received an award, with money going toward the language arts program at the winner's school. 

This year, the "Best-in-Show Adult" award went to Habib Hajallie from the United Kingdom for his image Can I Touch Your Hair, the "Best-in-Show Student" award went to 11th-grader Shangxi Wu from California for his image I Have a Dream and the winning quote was submitted by 6th-grader Brain Hendricks, from Sarasota's Pine View School.

For more information about the exhibit or Embracing Our Differences, click here or call (941) 404-5710.   

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