Fort Bend County Judge KP George announced a yearlong art initiative called Diversity Over Division, which aims at promoting inclusion and acceptance, at a Sept. 30 press conference.

“We are here to celebrate diversity in Fort Bend County, which is really interesting because Fort Bend County is one of the most diverse counties in the country, so I think the celebration must start here,” George said.

The county is joined by the University of Houston at Sugar Land, Fort Bend County Libraries and local artists to host events and create art that speak to the diversity found in the county.

Jay Neal, the associate vice president and chief operating officer for UH—Sugar Land, said that in the upcoming months, the university will be hosting spoken word and visual art events.

“Diversity is in the DNA of the University of Houston,” Neal said. “We're very proud to partner with Fort Bend County and our partners at Fort Bend County Libraries on this project.”

At the county library system, Christina Tam, the adult program services programming librarian, announced a photography contest, in which amateur photographers are invited to submit photos that capture Fort Bend County coming together. Submissions will be accepted in December and January and will be displayed online at the George Memorial Library in February.

Additionally, in February, the library will host a series of conversations with authors of diverse backgrounds and of different genres.

“Our hope is to encourage discussion and initiate conversation about the many issues that our community faces as well as how literature can help explore those topics,” Tam said.

Houston-based muralist Reginald Adams said he will be collaborating artists from all over the world to create a series of artwork to embellish the George Building at UH—Sugar Land.

“Over the course of the year, that artwork will help reinforce the message, the importance of building bridges between different cultures and communities, and I’m very excited to be a part of this,” Adams said.

At the press conference, Houston’s poet laureate, Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, performed a spoken word poem she said she wrote in memory of people who have been victims of those opposed to diversity.

“Throughout history, art has been a form of communication focused on raising awareness about social issues with a goal of making positive changes,” George said.

Stay tuned to the county, UH-Sugar Land and the library’s websites for upcoming information.