Embracing Our Differences Receives Arts Appreciation Grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation

The Giving Coast

Pictured: Embracing Our Differences Teacher Workshop.

Sarah Wertheimer, the executive director of Embracing Our Differences, recently announced that the organization has received a $50,000 Arts Appreciation grant from the Helen Hamilton Fund at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The grant will fund various aspects of the organization’s year-round educational initiatives. EOD partners with local educators and arts organizations to create a variety of educational programs, including free school field trips to EOD’s annual outdoor exhibit and two reading day programs for pre-k through third grade students in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Programs created for high school students include docent training as part of the Coexistence Club experience and the Unity Day program, a full-day workshop that promotes empathy and respect through team building activities. Teacher workshops that provide area educators with skills, strategies and resources relating to arts appreciation, character building and diversity education are also offered.

“Through the transformative power of the arts, Embracing Our Differences educates and inspires to create a better world—a world that embraces diversity, respects differences, and actively rejects hatred and prejudice,” says Wertheimer. “We believe these values are more important now than ever and we are grateful to the Gulf Coast Community Foundation for so consistently supporting this vital mission.” For 19 years, Embracing Our Differences has drawn on the passion and perception of artists, students, writers, and others to create powerful statements of diversity and acceptance in its annual outdoor public art exhibition consisting of 50 billboard-sized works of art and accompanying quotes. The scale and impact of this outdoor exhibition has continued to grow, attracting more than 4 million visitors since its inception. This exhibit is the heart of a year-round program of activities designed to use art as a catalyst to create awareness and promote diversity. Next year’s Bayfront Park exhibit runs January 18-March 12, 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.

Pictured: Embracing Our Differences Teacher Workshop.

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