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