Embracing Our Differences Is Nominated for
WEDU’s Be More Enriched Award
The organization received the nomination for its celebrated programs and initiatives that empower thousands of individuals, including students and teachers, to embrace diversity and promote tolerance and understanding though art and education.
(Sarasota/Manatee) Embracing Our Differences was nominated for WEDU’s 2015 Be More Enriched Award. The organization received the nomination for its celebrated programs and initiatives that empower thousands of regional individuals, including students and teachers, to embrace diversity and promote tolerance and understanding though art and education. WEDU’s Be More Enriched Award acknowledges cultural organizations that contribute to the spirit of adventure, exploration and education in the regional arts scene. Other finalists include Florida Studio Theatre, Glazer Children’s Museum, and Ruth Eckerd Hall. The winner will be announced at a luncheon on February 12 in Tampa.
“The mission of Embracing Our Differences is to use the transformational power of the arts to educate and inspire to create a better world,” says Sarah Wertheimer, associate executive director of EOD. “We’re deeply honored that WEDU recognizes our dedication to creating a vibrant regional community that is safe and inclusive for all.”
Since 2004, Embracing Our Differences’ international outdoor art exhibit celebrating the theme of “enriching lives through diversity,” has showcased the work of artists and writers from all walks of life, including that of many area students. In 2014, the organization received 6,079 total artworks and statements from people representing 52 countries and 44 states. Students from 126 elementary, middle and high schools comprised 65 percent of the submissions. Submissions of art and quotes by 38 local students were included in the juried exhibit.
According to Wertheimer, the high percentage of local students winning contributions can be attributed, in part, to the participation of area teachers in Embracing Our Differences’ teacher workshops.
Presented in partnership with the curriculum and instruction department of the Sarasota County school district and nationally recognized educators, these workshops provide teachers with the skills, tools and resources they need to teach their students art appreciation, character building and diversity education. The workshops identify the relevant curriculum standards, educational objectives, instructional strategies, step-by-step lesson plans and assessment guidelines. All workshops and related resources are linked to Florida’s newly adopted Next Generation Sunshine State Standards and Language Art Florida Standards. One hundred and fifty area teachers, responsible for more than 15,000 students, are expected to participate in Embracing Our Differences educator workshops during the 2014-2015 school year.
“Since 2004, 847 teachers have participated in our workshops, which represent one of the most important aspects of our efforts—to positively impact the lives of regional students,” says Wertheimer. “Not only do the children explore effective ways to tap into their creativity; they also experience new ways to learn and succeed in the world.”
Embracing Our Differences’ annual juried international art exhibit returns to Sarasota’s Island Park and Bradenton’s Riverwalk, March 29-May 31, 2015. The 2015 Call to Artists and Quotation Writers is open to amateurs, professionals and students until January 5, 2015. Artists and writers can submit directly online at: www.embracingourdifferences.org/call-for-artists.html. For more information about Embracing Our Differences, call 941-404-5710 or visit www.embracingourdifferences.org.
Embracing Our Differences’ education programs include:
- The “Make-a-Day-of-It!” program, providing free bus transportation for area students and teachers to the outdoor exhibit and to other cultural venues, including Florida Studio Theatre, Mote Marine Aquarium and Ringling Museum.
- An annual teacher workshop designed to provide teachers with a well-planned curriculum for use before, during and after their students’ visit to the annual exhibit.
- 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.
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 transformational power of the arts to educate and inspire to create a better world. For more information, visit www.embracingourdifferences.org.
ABOUT WEDU PBS
WEDU is West Central Florida’s leading PBS station and public media company reaching 16 counties through media platforms including on-air programming and online experiences that broaden horizons, transport and transform and open gateways to new ideas and new worlds. Financially supported by the community, the organization offers a wealth of award-winning inspirational, educational and enlightening content over a variety of media platforms including: television programming, station’s website, wedu.org and various social media platforms, monthly member magazine Premiere, educational outreach activities and a myriad of special events. WEDU’s focus on the local community has resulted in the station being regarded as a beacon of trust for men, women and children of every walk of life no matter their age, ethnicity or socio-economic status. WEDU is a treasured community resource; a window to the world for the homebound and a vital educational source for the youngest members of society. WEDU prides itself on its position in the Tampa Bay community as a leader, partner, informed citizen and a member of PBS, the most trusted institution in America (Harris Interactive Trust QuickQuery, January 2013). For more information, program schedules or to support WEDU visit wedu.org; WEDU Public Media on Facebook and Twitter or call 813-254-9338.