Alexis Thompson, a university student at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University from Roxboro, North Carolina, was chosen as the winner of this year’s "People's Choice Award" at Embracing Our Differences' 19th annual outdoor juried art exhibit celebrating diversity. Thompson, who is studying graphic design, received a cash award of $1,000 for her work, Threat? which depicts a young Black man holding an infant on his lap. The words “At What Age Do I Become a Threat?” appear behind him.
Thompson says she was initially motivated to create the piece after Breonna Taylor was killed by police during the execution of a no-knock warrant in 2020. She says she wants to create art that helps give a voice to those who need it. “My goal is to make others feel included and that they have a legacy to leave behind," she says. "How can we make this a better world to live in?”
Sarah Wertheimer, executive director of Embracing Our Differences, says that the People’s Choice award is determined by a survey that was available to the 371,256 visitors who attended this year’s exhibit, January 15 through April 10. She adds that “Threat?” received far more votes than all of the artwork in the exhibit. This year, 117,000 more people visited the exhibit than in 2021.
Next year’s Bayfront Park exhibit runs January 18-March 13, 2023. In addition, for the first time, the exhibit will also be displayed at Butler Park in North Port, March 22-April 19, 2023; and at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, April 26-May 29, 2023.