2020 Annual Report

Embracing Our Differences is a not-for-profit organization based in Sarasota, Florida, that uses the power of art and education to expand consciousness and open the heart to celebrate the diversity of the human family.

Mission & Vision

Through the transformative power of the arts, we educate and inspire to create a better world. We envision a world that embraces diversity, respects differences and actively rejects hatred and prejudice.

Community Partners

We are very proud of the relationships developed with our Community Partners – each of which plays an integral role in the success of our programs. Without their support, our work would be impossible.

"If you stand by, then who will stand up?"

Letter from the Executive Director

The last nine months defy description. What’s the right adjective? Challenging? Unprecedented? Disruptive? Whichever word you choose, it’s an understatement. The pandemic and the struggle for racial justice have exposed serious fault lines in our society. We’re living in strange days—and many feel uncertain about the days to come.

But the future won’t wait. Ready or not—it arrives. To survive, you must adapt—and quickly. That’s exactly what we did.

To stay connected to broad audiences, we reimagined EOD’s educational outreach programs for virtual platforms. With direction from our education director, Ben Jewell-Plocher, and Brian Hersh, EOD’s liaison with the Sarasota County School District, we launched a series of easily accessible virtual programs and resources for families and teachers.

To further empower area educators, we’re also developing a series of instructional videos for students who wish to submit quotes and artwork for the 2021 exhibit. Finally, as we move closer to the date of our 2021 outdoor exhibit, we’ll be able to better determine if in-person visits by students and teachers are feasible. To prepare for every contingency, we’ve already planned a virtual exhibit tours program.

Reinventing EOD’s outreaches for online media is a massive effort. But thanks to vital grants from area foundations, including the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, we completed it in a matter of weeks. Our efforts are also buoyed by dedicated area educators, high school student volunteers, board members, EOD Ambassadors, and all the sponsors, and volunteers who share EOD’s commitment to honor the complex spectrum of human potential and celebrate the differences that make each individual precious and unique. Thanks to your commitment, we can continue our mission—even in these strange days.

- Sarah Wertheimer, Executive Director

2020 Exhibit

The centerpiece of Embracing Our Differences is a juried, outdoor art exhibit featuring 50 billboard-sized images created by local, national and international artists, writers and students reflecting their interpretations of the theme “enriching lives through diversity.” The exhibit welcomed 388,000 visitors this past year, bringing total attendance, since 2004, to more than 3.3 million.

  • 388,0002020 Exhibit Attendance
  • 3,308,000Attendance Since 2004
  • 450Thank you to our volunteers in 2020
"The EOD exhibit, this year, is outrageously wonderful, relevant, impactful, hard, provocative, beautiful, strong, in your face great! It made me cry, more than once. Touched my heart and sensibilities."
- Exhibit Visitor
"Love this! So meaningful and eye catching. Something to learn for all ages."
- Exhibit Visitor
Exhibit Exhibit

Art & Quotation Submissions

This year’s exhibit had an impressive response to the call for artwork and inspirational quotes, with 16,118 entries pouring in from 127 countries and 50 states. Students from 398 schools around the world submitted artwork or quotes to the juried exhibit, with more than 65% of this year’s submissions coming from students.

  • 16,1182020 Entries
  • 127 Countries
  • 50 States
  • 398 Schools
  • 89,895 Submissions Since 2005