Embracing Our Differences celebrated diversity through the arts at its annual luncheon Jan. 23 at Michael's On East.
More than 400 guests packed into the ballroom for the nonprofit's yearly event. Embracing Our Difference's 16th annual outdoor art exhibit features 45 billboard-sized artworks and quotes showing the values of creativity, respect and acceptance. The pieces were voted on by a blind committee out of 11,791 entries from 111 countries and 44 states.
Guests mingled for a short cocktail hour before being seated for lunch and speeches. Board of Directors Chairman Dennis McGillicuddy kicked off the talks by introducing the public officials in the audience, thanking the sponsors and showing a video explaining the mission of the organization.
The guest speaker for the luncheon was student writer — who has two quotes accompanying pieces of art in the exhibit — Seth Morano. His speech was preceded by his creative art teacher at Booker Middle School, Joanna Fox, who said that people hear about teachers changing students' lives, but Morano changed hers.
Morano spoke with spunk and passion about his own experience living with disabilities. He submitted two quotes this year, and both were in the top entries for "Best in Show." He received a standing ovation from the room both before and after his speech.
The exhibit is open now through March 15 at Bayfront Park.