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.”

 

Thoughts from our Guest Blogger: Nerissa Street

We’re turning our blog over to Nerissa Street, a teacher, writer, speaker, and all-around amazingly creative person who will be reading and leading on our beach on Friday, Aug. 7. Nerissa is definitely a STAR at the Hermitage and back at home in Fort Lauderdale. But even though she lives in Florida, she’s never seen sharks’ teeth like we have on Manasota Key. Read all about it here and come meet her Friday.

Friends Column

Now it’s May and many of you are gone for the summer. Others of you who are year-round residents hopefully will continue your volunteerism as usual. For me it’s a “push-me/pull you time of year with looking forward to another summer in Ontario and at the same time being reluctant to leave the Hermitage at this exciting time in its history. I would love to be here to help with the move to the Palms next door. In case you didn’t know, there may be plans for the Friends to have a room all our own where we can have meetings and work together on projects.

Dear Friends of the Hermitage,

Now it’s May and many of you are gone for the summer. Others of you who are year-round residents hopefully will continue your volunteerism as usual. For me it’s a “push-me/pull you time of year with looking forward to another summer in Ontario and at the same time being reluctant to leave the Hermitage at this exciting time in its history. I would love to be here to help with the move to the Palms next door. In case you didn’t know, there may be plans for the Friends to have a room all our own where we can have meetings and work together on projects.

Many thanks to Linda Schilke, Bob Kinsley and Mike Schafer who cleaned closets, cupboards, drawers, nooks and crannys. Thanks to Richard Parsons who made the door to the Harry Potter closet open and close easily. Thanks also to Mary Clement, Joan Dusenbury, Audrey Snyder, Carolyn Moore, Velvet Wildermuth and Kay Rihn who made short work of giftwrapping favors for the Greenfield Dinner. Thanks to Gladys Varga and Jacobina Trump for their work in the libraries. Thanks to Tom Dignam who transported a donated bookshelf from Venice and Jackie Parsons and Carolyn Moore who recycled worn-out Artful Lobster tablecloths into napkins. And a special thank you to new friend Becky Dexter who used her design skills to rearrange furnishings in the Hermitage House.

Please mark your calendars for a special event planned for Monday, November 2nd. Writer Tony Eprile will be in residence, and all of you are invited to take part in meeting with him to discuss his novel, “The Persistence of Memoy”. Tony is a South African now living in Vermont. His novel won the Koret Jewish Book Award and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. It was also listed as a Best Book of 2004 by the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Also invited to the meeting are three book discussion groups from Manasota Key. It should be a stimulating morning with Tony and a chance to meet other readers who live on the Key. You are welcome to bring family and friends and enjoy the beach afterwards. You can order “The Persistence of Memory” from Book Store1 in Sarasota. It is also available in hardcover, paperback and affordable used copies at Amazon.com. Stay tuned for more details in the fall.

Have a happy summer, and I look forward to seeing you around the time of Pioneer Days in Englewood for our annual Open House and other Labor Day weekend activities.

Marianne Schafer
Coordinator of the Friends of the Hermitage

March Development News

The Board of Trustees would like to thank and recognize Ina Schnell for sponsoring the Hermitage residency of the contemporary string quartet ETHEL! Acclaimed as “unfailingly vital” (The New York Times), “brilliant,”(The New Yorker), and “one of the most exciting quartets around” (Strad Magazine), ETHEL performs adventurous music by celebrated contemporary composers and its 2014-15 season celebrates the diversity of regional American music. Founded in 1998 and based in New York City, ETHEL is comprised of Ralph Farris (viola), Kip Jones (violin), Corin Lee (violin), and Dorothy Lawson (cello). Their website is www.ethelcentral.org. – check it out!

The Board of Trustees would like to thank and recognize Ina Schnell for sponsoring the Hermitage residency of the contemporary string quartet ETHEL! Acclaimed as “unfailingly vital” (The New York Times), “brilliant,”(The New Yorker), and “one of the most exciting quartets around” (Strad Magazine), ETHEL performs adventurous music by celebrated contemporary composers and its 2014-15 season celebrates the diversity of regional American music. Founded in 1998 and based in New York City, ETHEL is comprised of Ralph Farris (viola), Kip Jones (violin), Corin Lee (violin), and Dorothy Lawson (cello). Their website is www.ethelcentral.org. – check it out!

The Greenfield Prize Dinner will be on April 18 at Michael’s on East. Serving on the event committee are Kelley Lavin, chair, Gerri Aaron, Caroline Andrus, Beverly Bartner, Ellen Berman, Susan Brainerd, Patricia Caswell, Nita Edmundson Cole, Ilene Denton, Rebecca Donelson, Joan Golub, Alexandra Jupin, Diana Lager, Tina Taylor Little, Sharyn Lonsdale, Bobbi Lorry, Flora Major, Linda Mansperger, Sharon Prizant, Michele Redwine, Julie Riddell, Flori Roberts, Bruce Rodgers, Lisa Rubinstein, Ina Schnell, and Karen Solem. To purchase your ticket, go to www.greenfieldprize.org and click on Greenfield Prize Weekend – Reserve your space soon.

We recognize and thank those who have come on board as sponsors of the Greenfield Dinner as of March 18: Premier Community Sponsor: President’s Fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County; Table Sponsors: Gerri Aaron, Beverly and Bob Bartner, Ellen Berman, Flora Major and Flori Roberts, Rebecca Donelson and Robert Blattberg and Karen Solem and Charles Forman, Renee Hamad and Joy and Jim Rogers, and Ina Schnell; Benefactors: Caroline and Dyck Andrus, Carol White Bold and Larry Bold, Kay Delaney and Murray Bring, Bobbi and Will Lorry, Ruth and Andy Maass, Sarah and George Pappas, Lois Stulberg; and Patrons: Debbi Benedict, Susan Brainerd and Alan Quinby, Ilene and David Denton, Kelley and Jerry Lavin, Robin Radin, Susie Samp, and WUSF. Our exclusive magazine sponsor is Sarasota Magazine.

We want to thank our amazing donors who support the Hermitage! Welcome Vicki Weil, who recently joined the Palm Circle and thank you to Dr. and Mrs. John Ruthman for their Annual Fund contribution. Every gift supports our mission to nurture creativity, preserve Florida history, protect native ecology, and serve our Gulf coast community.

The Hermitage is proud to announce that it has received a grant of $7,500 to support our summer STAR (State Teachers Artist Residencies) program. The foundation requests that we do not list its name in our newsletter. Five teachers will be at the Hermitage in July and August. The deadline to apply is April 25, 2015. To find out more visit the Florida Alliance of Artist Communities.

Who’s Been in Residence?

Who would have guessed that February and March would be such popular months to visit the Hermitage? Composer Kamala Sankaram, holder of a Chari Isaacs Residency, returned and with the slightest prompting, sung an aria after dinner at the Hermitage, for her residency sponsor. Composer Anna Clyne returned. Not only is she the Chicago Symphony resident composer, but she holds the Charles and Charlotte Perret Residency. She got to know the Perrets over dinner at the Hermitage and showed them “The Violin,” a piece she wrote and turned into a video.

By Patricia Caswell, Co-Founder and Program Director

Who would have guessed that February and March would be such popular months to visit the Hermitage? Composer Kamala Sankaram, holder of a Chari Isaacs Residency, returned and with the slightest prompting, sung an aria after dinner at the Hermitage, for her residency sponsor. Composer Anna Clyne returned. Not only is she the Chicago Symphony resident composer, but she holds the Charles and Charlotte Perret Residency. She got to know the Perrets over dinner at the Hermitage and showed them “The Violin,” a piece she wrote and turned into a video.

Florida Studio Theatre Founder Jon Spelman told stories on the FST stage while Painter Felix de la Concha painted his portrait in front of a full house. The painting is at the “Hermitage Intrigue” show at Alfstad& Contemporary in Sarasota, along with the 17 paintings he completed during his residency, until March 27. Don’t miss it. Playwright Arthur Kopit’s Road to Nirvana played at Venice Theatre with the author addressing the audience afterward for four performances. Arthur also holds a Chari Isaacs Residency. Choreographer Dusan Tynek came for a week following his company’s performance at the Historic Asolo Theatre. Composer/Conductor Jim Stephenson arrived just after conducting the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra. Composer Douglas Cuomo, known for writing the popular theme song for the “Sex in the City” TV series, is in residence.

Are you wondering how you can have an aria sung to you over dinner? Sponsor an artist residency. Artists often return three times in two years, enough time to forge a great relationship. Some of our sponsors have traveled to meet their artists and see shows in New York and Europe. I love being a residency matchmaker. So far, no marriages though. Contact me at the Hermitage and let me make a match for you.

No Proscenium: An “Artist on the Beach” Event

In theaters a proscenium separates audience from performer. In galleries artists are absent. The ticket price economic divide can be a cruel barrier. At Hermitage beach events there is no proscenium, no ticket and no barrier. The artists openly engage you straight on.

By Patricia Caswell, Co-Founder and Program Director

No Proscenium: An “Artist on the Beach” Event
Friday, April 10 at 6:00 PM

In theaters a proscenium separates audience from performer. In galleries artists are absent. The ticket price economic divide can be a cruel barrier. At Hermitage beach events there is no proscenium, no ticket and no barrier. The artists openly engage you straight on.

Artists on the Beach on April 10 features two New York City artists in open studios; a world-renowned composer and author reading from her latest book; a documentary art film; a playwright; and a singer/songwriter sure to charm as he serenades the sunset. Be prepared to be engaged, because on our beach there is no proscenium between you and the artist.

So what will you see here at the Hermitage that day?
In our studios, Artist/Musician Ted Riederer will screen his award winning film, “YOU ARE NOT LISTENING,” about his Never Record community art installation. He set up free record stores (pop up shops) inviting musicians to record albums for free. Check out the trailer at https://vimeo.com/46362406

Visual artist Jane Fine will open her studio with works in progress. Visit her website http://janefine.net/ to see her delicate, intricate and colorful work.

At 7 p.m. we’re off to the beach for a program like none we’ve had before.

In the last few years Lera Auerbach has written music for opera, ballet, and orchestras literally all over the world. But what does this Hermitage Fellow do in her spare time? She will read from her new book, The Excess of Being, which she wrote and illustrated and you the audience will play an active role in her reading. She will be signing her books, so you can take a bit of the evening home with you.

What could be more uplifting than a sunset serenade on the beach by Musician Michael Mendez, a member of Sarasota’s own Westcoast Black Theater Troupe?

Bring your own beach chairs (preferably the low ones) and snacks. Sit as close as you want because there is no “fourth wall” in Mother Nature’s theater.

A world of thanks to the Englewood Art Center (a Division or Ringling College of Art & Design). Weather forced us to move the program to their building at 350 South McCall Road and they could not have been better hosts. If Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate this time, we’ll be on the move again. Check the Hermitage Facebook page or call us after 3 p.m. that day if the weather is in doubt. And of course, the program is free.

Mark Your Calendar or You May Miss our Events
To avoid flooding your inbox with emails, we include upcoming artist programs in this monthly newsletter. This means if you don’t read it, you might miss something! There might not be another notice. This scares me because even my own mother hasn’t read my column at times. So get the artist scoop right here. Email me at Programs@HermitageArtistRetreat.org and let me know you got this and it’s working. Speaking of the calendar. I’ve always dreamed of bringing our “Artist on the Beach” events north to Sarasota. It will happen on Saturday, May 23 with the popular string quartet ETHEL. You’ll read it here first in next month’s newsletter.

Following our Fellows

Congratulations to Hermitage Fellow and recipient of the 2009 Greenfield Prize in music, Eve Beglarian. Earlier this month, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA), a nonprofit arts organization founded by John Cage and Jasper Johns, awarded Eve the third annual Robert Rauschenberg Award, which includes an unrestricted cash prize of $35,000. The two previous awardees were choreographer Trisha Brown and the late composer Elodie Lauten. Eve, along with Ruthie Stephens and a creative team from New York, was here this past November working on the new musical piece “Descent,”” presented in workshop at Circus Sarasota. Composer and Hermitage fellow Phil Kline is also part of the “Descent” creative team.

This new feature will share just some of what past and present Hermitage Fellows are sharing with the world.

Congratulations to Hermitage Fellow and recipient of the 2009 Greenfield Prize in music, Eve Beglarian. Earlier this month, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA), a nonprofit arts organization founded by John Cage and Jasper Johns, awarded Eve the third annual Robert Rauschenberg Award, which includes an unrestricted cash prize of $35,000. The two previous awardees were choreographer Trisha Brown and the late composer Elodie Lauten. Eve, along with Ruthie Stephens and a creative team from New York, was here this past November working on the new musical piece “Descent,”” presented in workshop at Circus Sarasota. Composer and Hermitage fellow Phil Kline is also part of the “Descent” creative team.

The work of artist Jeffrey Beebe continues on exhibit at the Bravinlee Programs gallery in New York City, until Feb. 21, 2015. Jeffrey Beebe The Battle of The Invoked Impossibility: Further Adventures in Refractoria features maps, diagrams, charts, portraits and drawings.

Hermitage Fellow Mala Iqbal has been busy. She is participating in two group shows, Pallets & Palates: Placing Taste Sound and Sight, at the Asian Arts Intitiative in Philadelphia, through Feb. 20, 2015 and Interventions II at 257 State Street in Hudson, NY through Feb. 1. Mala’s new book of drawings, “Be Home Here, is also available. Check it out here.

Filmmaker and Hermitage Fellow Bill Morrison and composer Michael Gordon, a Miami native, will discuss their long-term collaboration and show excerpts from their films at The Miami Jewish Film Festival on January 27. Bill Morrison’s films were recently showcased at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

The Geva Theatre of Rochester, NY will present a reading of Playwright Rich Orloff’s “documentary-style” play “Chatting with the Tea Party” on January 26. Rich’s new play “Jennifer’s Birth” will get readings February 5-7 at WorkShop Theater Company in NYC. To see if Rich’s work is coming near you, check out his website.

Travels with our Friends

I was sorry to miss December at the Hermitage, especially the beach event that had so many people in attendance. Thanks to all of you who helped out in so many ways while I was away.

Marianne Schafer, Coordinator, Friends of the Hermitage

I was sorry to miss December at the Hermitage, especially the beach event that had so many people in attendance. Thanks to all of you who helped out in so many ways while I was away.

Actually, I heard all about it via the Hermitage website all the way on the other side of the world in Indonesia where Mike and I spent the month celebrating the marriage of our eldest son to a lovely young woman we have come to adore.

After the wedding in Jakarta, we spent two weeks travelling with the newlyweds to Yogyakarta and the island of Gili Trawangan off the coast of Bali and Lombok. Yogyakarta is known as the center of classical Javanese fine art and culture. Highlights of our travels were seeing a traditional Javanese ballet, hearing the beautiful strains of a Javanese orchestra, and shopping for batiks, tapestries, and fine silver filagree jewelry where the various processes were demonstrated for us by skilled artisans. We also witnessed a 4 a.m. sunrise over Borabadur, the largest Buddhist archaeological site in the world.

We spent Christmas on Gili Trawangan where I felt like I was living in a National Geographic article. We arrived there by boat, having waded into the Indian Ocean with our luggage to an awaiting water taxi. We spent the last week relaxing in a three-bedroom house a swimming pool with a soothing waterfall that was a welcome relief from the tropical heat. Breakfast was brought to our dining table; and we ate the rest of our meals in restaurants along a narrow, dusty cobblestone road traversed by bicycles, horse-drawn carts and pedestrians—no motor scooters or cars allowed.

All the time I was reminded of the Hermitage and the wonderful artists we have met and enjoyed there. Seeing a culture on the other side of the world made me realize more than ever how alike we all are, no matter where we live on this precious planet. Art is truly the universal language of mankind.

Now I am happy to be back home enjoying the cultural life that is the Hermitage and looking forward to all that the Hermitage has to offer in the New Year. Hopefully, you will continue to make the Hermitage a part of your life, too and we hope to see you at the February 12 meeting of the Friends of the Hermitage.

Sixteen Geniuses in January

During January, sixteen creative geniuses from twelve states and a province continuously awakened us from our conventional ideas.

During January, sixteen creative geniuses from twelve states and a province continuously awakened us from our conventional ideas.

As a boy, novelist and essayist Tony Eprile was forced to flee South Africa with his family to protect his father, a publisher of a black newspaper. His book, The Persistence of Memory recounts a boy’s coming of age during apartheid. When Tony returns in the fall, he’s agreed to join our informal Hermitage book club in conversation about his story. Everyone is welcome. You can contact Sharyn at admin@hermitageartistretreat.org for information.

River barges, waterwheels and water itself become instruments in the hands of Chinese-American composer Byron Au Yong from Seattle. He is engaged with long-term musical creations that often have to do with the environment and the ecosystem. He is working on a commission to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Fairmount Water Works in Philadelphia using chorus, dancers – and water of course.

Nebraskan Anthony Hawley’s paintings aren’t hanging on a wall. You are turned into a voyeur to peek through a painting to see another painting in a set of four forming a cube. Abstract color and texture meet your view.

Nearly 200 people visited open studios to see the work in progress of Barbara Parmet’s photography, Rebecca Allan’s paintings, and slides of monumental scale, extremely creative participatory artwork by Zoe Strecker. Also participatory is Barbara’s work, which featured several Hermitage volunteers floating underwater modeling for her camera among shafts of wet sunlight.

Wind and grey skies forced the beach reading inside, making for an intimate exchange. The crowds were so fascinated that the artists had to repeat their talks three times each so everyone could squeeze in to hear. Lisa Schlesinger read her essay published in the New York Times about her husband fathering a child for a lesbian couple. Composer Laura Kaminsky showed scenes and told the story of her Opera As One, dealing gracefully and lovingly with the two people inside one transgender body.

Off campus, Sarasota playwrights and Florida Studio Theatre interns were the first to hear Colorado playwright Carter Lewis’ new work. They then got to write for themselves as Carter lead them through a creative writing workshop.

In January the Hermitage is brimming with genius: Writer, and National Artist Advisory Committee member Christopher Merrill from the University of Iowa; Greenfield Prize winner Trenton Doyle Hancock from Houston; writer Jonathan Garfinkel from Montreal; novelist Carin Clevidence from Northampton; composers Patrick Harlin from Seattle and Christine Southworth and Evan Ziporyn from MA and MIT are all in residence this month, creating and shaping their work, at our idyllic and inspiring campus.