Sponsored by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and co-chaired by Carol Buchanan and Graci and Dennis McGillicuddy, this annual event pays homage to the organization’s transformative educational outreach programs.
(Sarasota, FL) Michael Shelton, executive director of Embracing Our Differences, announced that the organization’s annual luncheon is set for Wednesday, December 18, 2013, noon, at Michael’s on East, 1212 SE Ave. in Sarasota. Sponsored by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and co-chaired by Carol Buchanan and Graci and Dennis McGillicuddy, this annual event pays homage to the organization’s acclaimed educational initiatives. At the event, students, teachers, artists and volunteers will share the many ways Embracing Our Difference’s programs have changed and inspired them. Tickets are $25. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 941-404-5710.
Since 2004, more than 140,000 area students have experienced Embracing Our Difference’s educational outreach programs and more than 500 teachers have participated in the organization’s annual teacher workshops and retreats.
“We are deeply committed to enhancing our educational outreach programs,” says Shelton. “It’s a top priority. With nearly 26,000 area students participating in our programs in 2013 alone, Embracing Our Differences continues to be one of the largest education programs in Southwest Florida. Creating a positive impact in the lives of children remains our most important effort. Not only do children explore effective ways to tap into their creativity; they also experience new ways to learn and succeed in the world.”
Embracing Our Differences educational programs include:
§ The “Make-a-Day-of-It!” program provides free bus transportation for area students and teachers to the outdoor exhibits and to other cultural venues in Sarasota and Manatee counties. (13,877 students participated in this program in 2013.)
§ A docent program that, via partnerships with Riverview, Southeast and North Port high schools, provides student-led docent tours of the annual exhibit, with 140 student docents guiding more than 10,400 students in 2013.
§ An annual teacher workshop designed by nationally acclaimed educators to provide teachers with a curriculum for use before, during and after their students’ visit to the exhibit. In 2013, 539 teachers participated in EOD-sponsored workshops.
§ An art teacher retreat, presented in partnership with Ringling College of Art and Design, designed to reinvigorate teaching practices while inspiring teachers’ art and art integration skills.
Since 2004, Embracing Our Differences’ annual juried art exhibit has graced downtown Sarasota’s bayfront with colorful, billboard-sized images created by artists, writers and students from around the world reflecting their interpretation of the message, “enriching lives through diversity.” In 2012, a grant from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation enabled the organization to mark its tenth anniversary with an expansion of the exhibit to Bradenton’s Riverwalk, attracting 30,000 visitors.
The resounding success in Bradenton was only one highlight in a year of phenomenal growth. Shelton notes that, “Combined attendance at all three venues for 2013 clocked in at 278,000 people, including more than 25,000 students from 180 area schools. That brings our cumulative total to 1,600,000 visitors and 142,000 students since 2004.”
Not ones to rest on their laurels, Shelton and the Embracing Our Differences trustees and staff are busy evaluating this year’s survey results and exploring new ways to provide an exciting and meaningful visitor experience in 2014.
“We’re looking forward to providing our communities once more with a first-rate visual experience that will allow audiences to deepen their understanding that by embracing our differences—by respecting others and standing up against hatred and indifference—will lead to a better world for all,” say Shelton.
Embracing Our Differences’ annual juried international art exhibit returns to Sarasota’s Island Park and Bradenton’s Riverwalk, March 30-June 2, 2014; and to North Port High School, May 2-June 2, 2014. The 2014 Call to Artists and Quotation Writers is open to amateurs, professionals and students until January 6, 2014. For more information and application forms, visit www.embracingourdifferences.org.
For more information about this exhibit or Embracing Our Differences, please call 941-404-5710 or visit www.embracingourdifferences.org.
About Embracing Our Differences
Embracing Our Differences is a project of Coexistence, Inc., a local non-profit that began in 2004. The project showcases a community-based outdoor exhibit promoting positive, inspirational artistic and verbal expressions of inclusion, tolerance, acceptance and respect. The mission of Embracing Our Differences is to use the arts as a catalyst for creating awareness and promoting, throughout our community, the value of diversity, the benefits of inclusion and the significance of the active rejection of hatred and prejudice.