(Sarasota, FL) The Sarasota County Commission recently awarded Embracing Our Differences a $46,179 Tourist Development Cultural/Arts grant to help fund its 2015 exhibition season, which runs March 29-May 31, in Sarasota’s Island Park and the Riverwalk in downtown Bradenton. Since 2004, Embracing Our Differences’ annual juried art exhibit has graced downtown Sarasota’s bayfront with billboard-sized images created by artists, writers and students from around the world reflecting their interpretation of the message, “enriching lives through diversity.”
“This grant will help us continue to get the word out to audiences beyond our immediate region,” says Michael Shelton, the executive director of Embracing Our Differences. According to Shelton, this year’s Sarasota exhibit, which closed on June 1, attracted 243,000 visitors of which 19 percent came from counties in Florida outside of Sarasota County; 23 percent were visitors from out of state; and seven percent were international tourists.
“Embracing Our Differences is a vital part of Sarasota’s rich cultural tapestry and has consistently drawn its fair share of tourists during the past 11 years,” notes Shelton. “As an open-air, free exhibit placed in easy-to-access locations, it’s a natural draw for visitors. We’re proud that it’s become a critical component of what defines our region as an important arts destination.”
The 2014 exhibit received 6,079 submissions representing 52 countries and 44 states and 120 schools from such distant lands as Brazil, Iran, Israel, Japan, and South Korea. A call for art and quote submissions is ongoing now through January 5, 2015. For more information about this and Embracing Our Differences, visit www.embracingourdifferences.org.
For more information about this exhibit or Embracing Our Differences, 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, 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.