Ann Arbor nonprofit opens call for artists for park’s second mural installation

ANN ARBOR, MI — A Michigan nonprofit organization has issued its call for artists for a second mural installation in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti parks.

Embracing Our Differences Michigan opened its call for submissions on Wednesday, August 24 for the second installation in its juried art exhibit. The exhibit features 60 billboard-sized wall banners displayed in parks addressing the concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The organization has also launched a call for submissions on the same subject to be associated with the chosen work.

“Each banner has a different impact on people,” said Nancy Margolis, executive director of Embracing Our Differences Michigan. “They talk to them; they talk about an experience they have.

Although 40 of the murals are created by national and international artists, approximately 20 of the spots are reserved for Washtenaw County artists. The 2022 exhibition featured 26 local artists. Non-local art is provided in partnership with Embracing Our Differences, a Florida nonprofit organization that hosts a similar art exhibit and inspired the creation of the Michigan chapter.

Both organizations provide many resources for teachers, including field trips, workshops, and lesson plans. Reaching students is important to the cause, Margolis said.

“Our hope is that all teachers will think about doing some kind of lesson plan, some kind of diversity curriculum so kids can understand how working with our differences makes us stronger,” she said.

Embracing Our Differences Michigan offers free on-site guided tours through the banners, which highlight artist statements and partner quotes.

“(Kids) love quotes,” Margolis said. “A lot of them see it and resonate with it and understand what it means, understand that they’ve been through some of those feelings and thoughts. And that’s power.

Anyone in Washtenaw County can submit artwork, including students. There is no entry fee or restriction on entry of works previously submitted to other competitions. Artwork should address the theme of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The deadline for submitting works is Monday, January 16, 2023. The work will be installed in May 2023.

Art should be horizontal and submitted with a brief artist statement explaining the piece, the creative process, and what the theme means to the artist. The chosen works will be exhibited from May to September 2023.

Prizes include $1,000 for Adult Best-in-Show, $250 for High School Best-in-Show, $150 for Middle School Best-in-Show, and $100 for Best-in-Show for elementary school students.

Murals from the 2022 show are currently at Gallup Park, 3323 Geddes Road, and the Leslie Science & Nature Center, 1831 Traver Road, both in Ann Arbor, and Riverside Park, 2 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti.

For more information about submitting artwork or Embracing Our Differences Michigan, visit the nonprofit online or on social media.

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About Irene J. O'Donnell

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