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Embracing Our Differences 20th Anniversary Exhibit Opens!

Join Us at the Grand Opening on March 25!

Presented by Embracing Our Differences March 1, 2023

And while you’re there, check out this year’s stunning exhibit of 50 billboard-sized images created by local, national and international artists, writers and students reflecting their interpretations of the theme “enriching lives through diversity and inclusion.”

2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the exhibit. Sarah Werthheimer, EOD's executive director, explains that the past 20 years have been ones of monumental positive growth, forward movement—and many milestones.

“Our first call to artists received 124 submissions,” says Wertheimer. “This year, we received 13,733 from 119 countries. And we’re thrilled that annual visitor attendance has quadrupled since we began. Less than 100,000 people attended the first exhibit; we had almost 400,000 last year.”

Wertheimer adds that EOD’s 20th anniversary theme is “Embracing Kindness.”

Awards for artwork 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 art winners each receive $2,000; students receive $2,000, which they split with their school’s art program. Awards are also given for inspirational quotations. Adult quotation winners each receive $2,000; students receive $2,000, which they split with their school’s Creative Writing program.


The Best-in-Show Adult winner for art is “We Are All Pearls” by Whittney de Araújo, of Recife, Brazil. In it, eight figures, seen from behind, sit on a bench in a museum staring at a wall with eight different paintings of a woman. The artist says she used the painting, “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” by Johannes Vermeer as a reference for the eight paintings in her work. As the viewer looks more deeply, we see the paintings reflect the diversity in color, size, physical ability, style and ethnicity of the women on the bench.

Alexis Lee, a 10th grade student at the Icon Art Academy in Irvine, CA., won the Best-in-Show Student award for her work, “Stretching Beauty,” which depicts a thin ballerina who sees herself as much larger in the mirror. “Body dysmorphia is something so many people go through as they try to reach the extremely demanding beauty standards of society, which usually leads to eating disorders,” says Lee.


The award for the Best-in-Show Adult inspirational quotation was given to Alexis Morrell of Wolcott, Connecticut for: “It takes more courage to speak in a silent room than to become another voice in a crowd.”

The award for the Best-in-Show Student inspirational quotation was given to Hartley Livesey, a fifth grade student at The Out-of-Door Academy for “Always remember you are braver than you think and stronger than you believe.” Hartley’s teacher is Mrs. Gulacsy.

Embracing Our Differences’ annual outdoor exhibits are the heart of a year-round program of activities designed to use art as a catalyst to create awareness and promote diversity.

For more information about Embracing Our Differences, call 941-404-5710 or visit www.embracingourdifferences.org.


A Quick Glance at Embracing Our Differences’ 20th Anniversary

Schedule and Celebrations:

Sarasota Exhibit (Bayfront Park):

  • Opens:           1/18/2023
  • Last Day:       3/12/2023

North Port Exhibit (Butler Park):

  • Opens:           3/22/2023
  • Last Day:       4/19/2023