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“The Calling” by Lisa Diane Wedgeworth

The Calling, new video work produced at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, August 6-19, 2018

~ Guest post and photo by Lisa Diane Wedgeworth

I have been reflecting on home, the land of my family. A calling, a tugging at my spirit to return there, if even for a brief visit to set foot upon the land my  ancestors toiled, built, walked and raised families upon.

Traveling through Alabama with my mother, visiting civil rights monuments and memorials, a deep kinship with those who endured and survived the Domestic Slave Trade stirred within me and the American South felt as much as my home as any of the places my immediate family and ancestors were called to put down their roots (Los Angeles, Ohio, Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, England and Jamaica).

While at the Hermitage, the water of the Gulf of Mexico  – although stained with the stench and destruction of the Red Tide – conjured images within my mind’s eye and whispered new work, The Calling, in my ear.

 

Composer Sid Richardson wins the 2018 Hermitage Prize

The Hermitage Artist Retreat and The Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) announce that Sid Richardson (pictured above right), a composition student at AMFS, has been awarded the 2018 Hermitage Prize. Richardson receives a six-week residency at the Hermitage, along with a $1,000 stipend for travel and food expenses. Richardson was selected by a jury that included Alan Fletcher, AMFS president and CEO; Robert Spano, music director of AMFS and the Atlanta Symphony; and the composition faculty of AMFS.

Bruce Rodgers (pictured above left), the executive director of the Hermitage, says that the partnership with AMFS has been tremendously rewarding over the past six years. First awarded in 2013, the Hermitage Prize is given to a promising composer who is enrolled as a composition student at AMFS. Rodgers explains that the residency is the only one the Hermitage grants to an artist who is just embarking on his career. “The Hermitage supports mid-career artists of every discipline who are immersed in their careers,” he says. “This is the one time we welcome an artist at the very beginning of his career. But the bottom line is that both organizations share the same goal—to nurture world-class artists. These students are already on their way to impressive careers with a multitude of recognized work under their belts.”

Richardson earned his Ph.D. in composition in the Department of Music at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He also holds degrees from Boston Conservatory and Tufts University. He received the Roger Sessions Memorial Composition Award upon graduating from the Boston Conservatory, and the Outstanding Achievement Award from Tufts University’s Department of Music. Richardson has collaborated on compositions with such artists as Conrad Tao, yMusic, the Da Capo Chamber Players, Deviant Septet, and Amarcord.

Richardson says that winning the Hermitage Prize is “an affirmation of my musical explorations. I can’t think of a greater opportunity for a young artist than to be given time, space, and a community of like-minded individuals within which to work.” He adds that he hopes to continue to, “explore the intersections of music and literature in regard to musical form—and to engage with new genres and media. My stay at the Hermitage will prove an important stage in my development as a composer.”

“We never know what will take place during a residency,” Rodgers says. “If the Hermitage Prize winner shares a residency with an established composer it’s usually someone they have heard of and admire. The organic process that occurs when artists interact with each other on our campus is a remarkable thing to observe. We look forward to welcoming Sid and doing everything we can to ensure that he has a successful and productive residency.”

Historic beachside property tours offered in September

The Hermitage Artist Retreat is offering historic beachside property tours, Friday, September 7, at 10 a.m.; Friday, September 14, at 10 a.m.; and Friday, September 21, at 6 p.m.  These free, one-hour walking tours explore the property’s colorful history and offer up-close views of the 106-year-old main building and four other historic structures that now serve as live-work spaces for visiting artists. Reservations are required and only available through email at reservations@hermitageartistretreat.org.

According to Bruce Rodgers, the Hermitage’s executive director, the Hermitage is a thriving oasis of living history and natural splendor. “Artists from around the world draw inspiration from this special location,” he says. “These unique structures have survived more than 100 years despite Mother Nature’s harshest tests. We’ll share engaging stories of the colorful characters and artists who’ve stayed here.” He adds that the tour begins with a video overview of the retreat.

The Calusa Indians were the original inhabitants of the site; their heritage lives on in the many middens and archeological sites in the area. In 1907, Swedish immigrant Carl Johansen bought a parcel to build a homestead for his family. The Johansens moved out in 1916; their house sat vacant into the 1930s, when it became a nudist resort called The Sea Island Sanctuary. After that, the property exchanged hands several times until, in the early 1990s, writer Ruth Swayze and her daughter, Carroll, an artist, spearheaded a community effort to save the buildings from beach erosion. At the time, Patricia Caswell was the executive director of the Sarasota County Arts Council, the organization that ultimately leased the property from the county in 2000 to turn the buildings into the Hermitage Artist Retreat.

Caswell is now the Hermitage’s co-founder and program director. She says that tours of the Hermitage have been popular in the past.  “If these tours sell out, we plan to add more. It’s our delight to share this heritage with as many people as possible.”

Hermitage STARs Showcase Their Work

Hermitage STARs Showcase Their Work

Friday, July 20, 4-6 p.m., at the Hermitage

Four public school arts teachers from around the state will exhibit and discuss the work they have achieved during their three-week residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood.

Four Florida public school arts teachers will showcase and discuss the work they’ve developed during their three-week stay at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Friday, July 20, 4-6 p.m., at the Hermitage, 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood. The event is free and open to the public.

The four artist/teachers are the winners of the 2018 State Teacher/Artist Residency program (STAR), presented by the Hermitage and the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE). They received a three-week summer residency, July 2-22, at the Hermitage, where they live and work as artists, without any expectation, schedule or demands.

Marisa Flint, a visual arts teacher from Edgewood Junior/Senior High School in Merritt Island, will hold an open studio and demonstrate encaustic painting (painting with hot wax). Rosemary Shaw, a visual arts teacher from U.B. Kinsey/Palmview Elementary School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, will lead guests in a participatory art activity in her studio. Travis Damato, a strings specialist teacher at Muller Elementary Magnet School in Tampa, will perform jazz standards on trumpet. Laura Tan, an art teacher at Southside Elementary Museum Magnet School in Miami, will show her work, including self-portraits in watercolor.

“These exceptional educators are also artists,” says Bruce Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage. “They need time to pursue their own artistic work. Creativity is like a muscle, and like other muscles, it needs to be exercised. The STAR program gives them the rare opportunity to experience an ambience where artists from around the world come to get motivated and connect with the artist within. Stepping back from the demands of everyday life can inspire leaps in creativity.”

Florida arts educators apply for the Hermitage summer residencies through FAAE. Applications are open to all Florida music, visual art and creative writing teachers. Since the start of the program in 2011, 39 teachers have represented 20 Florida counties. Residencies last for three weeks and culminate with a free community program on the Hermitage’s beachfront campus.

“We look forward to seeing what this latest group of STARs will create,” says Rodgers. “It’s an honor to celebrate Florida’s top arts educators.”

 

Martyna Majok First Woman Playwright to Receive 2018 Greenfield Prize in Drama

The Hermitage Artist Retreat along with its partner the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation announce that Playwright Martyna Majok has won the 2018 Greenfield Prize, given this year in Drama. Majok joins only three other playwrights who have previously won this prestigious award, Craig Lucas (2009), John Guare (2012) and Nilo Cruz (2015). She is the first female playwright to win. Recipients of the Greenfield Prize receive a $30,000 commission for a new work which can be presented to an audience in two years. In addition, they receive time and space to create the work at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, FL (Sarasota County).

Click here to read the full Broadway World article. Continue reading “Martyna Majok First Woman Playwright to Receive 2018 Greenfield Prize in Drama”

Greenfield Prize Honors Photographer with New Commission

Photographer David Burnett was understandably tongue-tied when he received a phone call a week ago informing him that he had won the 10th Greenfield Prize, the first given in the field of photography.

“This is really exciting,” he said by phone to a crowd of Greenfield Prize supporters and donors gathered in a Sarasota penthouse. “I’m speechless. I’ve got to tell you that I’m watching ‘Fences’ right now and enjoying how August Wilson can put words together so beautifully and I’m sorry that I’m not able to do that.”

Read the rest here.

Thank You for Meeting “The Challenge”

YOU DID IT! An amazing group of 88 people donated to the Hermitage during the recent 24-hour Giving Partner Challenge! This is up from 66 donors last year. Once all the “dust has settled” at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Hermitage will be receiving more than $20,000 – thanks in part to matching dollars provided by The Patterson Foundation.

HUGE THANKS to our 2016 Giving Challenge Donors! Steve and Dale Adler (in honor and memory of Syd Adler), Sam Alfstad, Peggy Allen, Caroline Andrus, Darrell Ayers, Alana Badinger, Craig Badinger, Judy and Pat Ball, Susan Barrett, Debbi Benedict, the Willa and Robert Bernard Fund, Carol White Bold and Larry Bold, Arts Alliance of Lemon Bay, Judy Bremer, William Buttaggi, Patricia Caswell, Jim Chandler, Mary Clement, Deborah Cohen, James and Kim Cornetet and the Bjork Sanders Donor Advised Fund, Carol Crosby, Ilene Denton, Annette and Tom Dignam, Joan and Jim Dusenbury, Sandy and Paul Eppling (in memory of Rose Ebeltoft), H. Wayne Ferguson, Carolyn Fitzpatrick, Melissa Granberry-Pranke, Linda and David Green, Linda Gross, Sandra Hammonds, Marilyn Harwell, Mildred Headdy, Christine and Richard Hess, Pencie Huneke, Charlotte Isaacs, David Katz, Carole Kleinberg (in memory of Ted J. Shears), Gerlinde Kohl, Thomas Koski, Lucy Laides, Dorothy Lawson (in honor of Ina Schnell), Diane Ledder, Arthur and Marcella Levin, Sharyn Lonsdale (in honor of Linda Mansperger), Ruth and Andy Maass, Kerry Mack, Linda and Mike Mansperger, the Martin Family Fund, Rita Mazer, Hannah and Gregory McDaniel, Susan McLeod, Charmaine McVicker, Carolyn Michel (in honor of Bruce Rodgers), Vance Mixell, Michelle Morris, Don Morrison, Sara and Larry Myers, Anne Patterson, Margaret Pennington, Charlotte and Charles Perret and Family Fund, Michele Redwine, Bruce Rodgers, James Rogers, Joy Rogers, Nancy Roucher, Lisa Rubinstein (in honor of Bruce Rodgers), Don and Linda Schilke, Stephanie Simmons, Harvey Small (in memory of Jeanie Small), Audrey Snyder (in memory of Robert B. Snyder), Laura Soule, Shannon Staub, Zoe Strecker (in honor of Patricia Caswell), Cynthia Stuhley, Elizabeth Van Riper, Sheila Weiss, Barbara Williams (in memory of Jean and Denzyl Williams), and Karen Williams.

Librettist Mark Campbell Talks at the Sarasota Opera

At dinner on the beach his first night at the Hermitage Mark Campbell regaled us with backstage stories until the stars were out. This year his operas will premiere at the Houston Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Philadelphia and the Santa Fe Opera. You too can come under the spell of his words by just showing up at the Sarasota Opera House at 10:30 am Oct. 26. Click Mark, whose opera Silent Night received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music, will talk about the recent boon in contemporary American opera, the joys and challenges of working in the art form, and give a preview of the five new operas he premieres in 2017.

At dinner on the beach his first night at the Hermitage Mark Campbell regaled us with backstage stories until the stars were out. This year his operas will premiere at the Houston Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Philadelphia and the Santa Fe Opera. Continue reading “Librettist Mark Campbell Talks at the Sarasota Opera”