Meet The Hermitage STARs

Posted by brodgers on 1st August 2011

The Hermitage Artist Retreat will hold open studios on Friday, August 12 to present the work of its first STAR (State Teachers Artist Residency) artists-in-residence. The event takes place from 6:00 pm to9:00 pm on the Retreat campus which is located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood. The five STARS will participate in open studios, readings and a musical performance. The event is free and open to the public.

This open studio event marks the culmination of our first residencies for Florida arts teachers. When we devised this program, we suspected that with all the demands placed on artists who choose a careerin public education, there is hardly time left over for pursuing their own artistry. We are pleased to be able to offer this gift of time and space and we now know that our inclination was correct. These teachers leave us fulfilled, enthused and excited about what has happened here and what’s to come.

The evening’s schedule is as follows:

6:00-7:15 - Open studios of Andrea Huffman, Broward County and Patricia Cummins, Miami-Dade County

7:15-8:00 – Beach readings by Alan Sincic, Osceola County and Melissa Pranke, Orange County. Musical performance by Tim Ostrow and accompanying musician, Charlotte County

8:09 - Sunset

The Artists Speak:

“My fellowship at the Hermitage has been a most generous gift of time to create and rejuvenate in a spectacular environment. I have been inspired to fill stacks of notebooks with words and stories; but tomy surprise, I have realized my greatest gain from this experience has been a rekindling of respect and passion for myself, as an artist and a teacher. The Hermitage, where creativity and compassion are paramount, is a rare gift and should be protected and cherished.”
– Melissa Pranke, writer, Winter Park High School, Orange County

(Read comments from all of the year’s STAR artists by clicking here)

This is the first group of STARs. Open to all Florida arts teachers, the STAR program is a partnership with the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE). Each spring, Florida arts teachers can apply forthe residency through FAAE, which also selects the winners. Five are selected: one in music, two in visual arts and two in creative writing.

We look forward to sharing the work of these artists/educators with you. True they won the competition but another win is for the children of Florida who will now benefit by teachers who have been renewed and valued for their artistic talent. We hope this program grows over time to include more opportunities for educators with a passion and talent for the arts.

The Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE) is a statewide service organization that works to ensure that all Florida students have a complete education that includes the arts. For more information on the application process or the organization, contact Susan Burke, at the Florida Alliance for Arts Education by calling 407-488-9951 or online at

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