SARASOTA - 11,791. That is how many works of art Embracing our Differences creative team found themselves combing through for this year’s 16th annual outdoor art exhibit.  At Wednesday’s luncheon, we found one entry stood out. Seth Morano of Sarasota embodies the core message of respecting differences and touching people through the power of art.

"In the words of the other quote that I wrote for this year’s exhibit, defiance in the face of malicious bigotry shows true strength,” Morano said.

Embracing our Differences hosts year-round programs as well as free field trips to promote the use of art and words to teach diversity in schools. Local teacher Joana Fox finds the curriculum vital in her classroom. 

"First of all it has the arts, it has the words but more important than that, it connects the people,” Fox said. 

Embracing our Differences chairman Dennis McGillicuddy believes the true message behind the artwork is teaching our children, and reinforcing in ourselves, the concept to have courage and kindness.

Having community partners come together over salad, dessert, art and inspiring words keeps the momentum going on Embracing our Differences’ vision statement and influence in the Suncoast area and beyond. 

“I wanted to say to the people of Sarasota, just be kind to one another, be kind be compassionate," Morano said.