Champions of Hermitage, Nelda & Jim Thompson, celebrated

This year’s Artful Lobster weekend included a special tribute event: a celebration of the legacy of longtime champions of the Hermitage and Manasota Key, Nelda and Jim Thompson. Approximately 40 guests gathered at sunset on the beach for this elegant and intimate celebration that included a tribute video featuring appearances by friends and fans, including honorary co-chairs Rebecca Cook and Bernard Dickens and Warren and Brammie Cook; Michael Saunders; and tennis legend and longtime friend Martina Navratilova. The event also featured a moment of celebration and light in memory of Jim Thompson, and a surprise visit from the Florida Gator. The John Miller Jazz Ensemble Trio provided the entertainment for the evening, and an unannounced performance from Ralph Farris delighted the guests.

Upcoming outdoor beach programs

The Hermitage Artist Retreat’s popular beachfront series continues with “The Making of a Musical,” November 23, 5 p.m., with composer and music director Rona Siddiqui; and “Illuminating the Transcendent,” Friday, December 4, 5 p.m., with composers Krists Auznieks and Robert Pound and poet Jason Schneiderman. These outdoor, beachside events are at the Hermitage, 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood.

Admission is free but registration is required. To learn more about these programs and to register, click here. Capacity is limited to accommodate safe social distancing, so early reservations are recommended. Masks are strongly encouraged.

“The relaunch of our Hermitage programs has been received with such appreciation from our audiences,” notes Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “Now that we’ve found a safe way to move forward with socially-distanced outdoor events – as audiences experienced recently on our beachfront campus as well as our recent event at Selby Gardens – we are honored to continue this series with four more extraordinary artists-in-residence. These renowned Hermitage Fellows provide members of our community with a unique look into the creative process, frequently debuting new works and inviting Hermitage audiences to be the first to experience their works-in-progress.”

Ralph Farris to headline Artful Lobster

Ralph Farris, a Hermitage Fellow and founding violist and artistic director of the genre-bending string quartet ETHEL, will headline the Hermitage Artist Retreat’s signature fall fundraising event, The Artful Lobster: An Outdoor Celebration!

Ralph is a Juilliard-trained, multi-instrumentalist performer, music director, curator, composer, arranger, and record producer. He is a tireless collaborator, whether working as an individual, or as a founding member and artistic director of ETHEL, the genre-bending string quartet described by The New York Times as “indefatigable and eclectic,” and by The New Yorker as “vital and brilliant.” That spirit has led to collaborations with a who’s-who of rock stars, filmmakers, choreographers, educators, stage directors, and poets. Farris has said that his favorite place to compose is at the Hermitage and has even composed work inspired by Manasota Key. For more information, visit RalphFarris.com.

“We are all incredibly excited to have Ralph Farris returning to the Hermitage to perform at this year’s Artful Lobster,” says Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “Ralph is one of the first artists I had the pleasure to meet and hear perform upon arriving at the Hermitage. He is a brilliant composer and performer, and our audience is in for a real treat!”

For more information about Artful Lobster: An Outdoor Celebration!, click here.

Hermitage welcomes Amy Wallace as development director

The Hermitage Artist Retreat has welcomed Amy Wallace as the organization’s development director. Wallace joins the organization after serving for six years at New College Foundation.

“Amidst an impressive pool of candidates from around the country, Amy stood out as a clear leader and an extraordinary addition to the Hermitage team,” says Andy Sandberg. “We are thrilled – and fortunate – to welcome Amy as development director. With her impressive experience in fundraising and institutional advancement, her forward-thinking outlook on philanthropy, and her passion for our mission to support artists and the creative process, Amy is going to play a vital role in the bright future of the Hermitage.”

Wallace brings a wide range of development experience, spending the last six years at New College Foundation in a variety of roles, including prospect research, donor relations, and database management prior to her fundraising role as director of philanthropy. She spent many years in corporate financial services and human resources before transitioning to a career in nonprofit development and philanthropy. She is a member of the Association of Donor Relations Professionals and a member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Wallace graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelor’s degree in political science. 

The Hermitage is also pleased to welcome Emily Lane as its grants manager. Lane is a fourth-generation Floridian with a deep connection to the arts, and her career has included higher education, museums, and arts institutions, where she raised millions of dollars for arts, education, scientific and environmental projects, as well as capital campaigns. She spent nearly 15 years at Selby Gardens before starting her own consulting and grants practice.

Hermitage and Selby Gardens announce “Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens”

The Hermitage Artist Retreat and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens announce a new collaboration, “Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens,” launching with a five-program series as part of the 2020-2021 season. The outdoor series features performances and talks by Hermitage artists-in-residence and alumni. Four will take place at Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus; one will be at Selby Gardens Historic Spanish Point campus. The series premieres with “Triple Current: Music of Arabia & America,” featuring the celebrated composer, santur player, jazz trumpeter and vocalist Amir ElSaffar, on Friday, October 23, 6 p.m., on the northern grounds of the Selby Gardens Event Center. Admission is free for all programs, but registration is required. Capacity will be limited to accommodate safe social distancing, so early reservations are recommended. Masks are strongly encouraged.

The complete roster of event dates in the inaugural season of “Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens” include:

~ Friday, October 23, 6 p.m., at Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus (at the northern grounds of the Events Center)
~ Friday, January 22, 5:30 p.m., at Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus
~ Wednesday, February 24, 6 p.m., at Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus; part of Selby Gardens’ “Lichtenstein Nights” concert series  
~ Wednesday, March 3, 6 p.m., at Historic Spanish Point
~ A date in May to be announced, at Selby Gardens

For more information, click here.

Outdoor Beach Programs Return Oct. 9!

The Hermitage Artist Retreat announces the return of its popular beachfront series with “Genius Loci: A Sense of Place in Story, Music, & Poetry,” Friday, October 9, 6 p.m., at the Hermitage Beach, 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood. This outdoor event features three Hermitage artists-in-residence: composer and bassist Michael Kurth, poet Lynnell Edwards, and author Justin Torres. In Edwards’ book of poetry This Great Green Valley and Torres’ book and film We the Animals, each captures the sense of place of their childhoods. Composer and bassist Michael Kurth, meanwhile, defines his place as the bottom staff of an orchestral score. The artistic realms include music, film, and the spoken and written word. In every realm, each artist has created a place of their own. As the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico, Edwards and Torres will read from their celebrated works, and Kurth will delight audiences with his string bass and bass ukulele.

Admission is free but registration is required. To learn more about this program and to register, click here. Capacity will be limited to accommodate safe social distancing, so early reservations are recommended. Masks are strongly encouraged.

“We are beyond excited to welcome audiences back to the Hermitage with the return of our outdoor beach series,” notes Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “Over the past few months, we have put tremendous thought and care into figuring out how to safely return to live programming while expanding our digital offerings, so that we can continue to build connections between our Hermitage Fellows and this extraordinary community.” The Hermitage resumed its artist residency program in July, with new social-distancing measures in place.

This outdoor event is the first of many programs and collaborations throughout the season, spanning Sarasota County and the surrounding region. The Hermitage will offer both live outdoor programs and virtual offerings throughout the year featuring celebrated playwrights, visual artists, musicians, poets, and more—all free to the members of our community.

2020 Artful Lobster: An Outdoor Celebration!

Andy Sandberg, Artistic Director and CEO of the Hermitage Artist Retreat, recently confirmed the organization is moving ahead with plans to hold its signature fall fundraising event, The Artful Lobster: An Outdoor Celebration! Now in its 12th year, the Artful Lobster raises valuable funds for the Hermitage’s nationally and internationally renowned artist residency program.

The event, which takes place outdoors beneath a large tent on the Hermitage’s environmentally pristine beachfront campus, is scheduled for Saturday, November 14, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., at 6660 Manasota Key Road, in Englewood, Florida.

Guests will enjoy a luscious lobster feast by Michael’s On East and a performance by a celebrated Hermitage Fellow (to be announced). Several new health and safety protocols have been implemented for this year’s celebration, and the Hermitage has published these at HermitageArtistRetreat.org/Safety.

The event’s co-chairs are Flora Major and Leslie Edwards. Sponsorship packages and tables range from $1,000 to $5,000. Single tickets, at $275, are extremely limited due to capacity, and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Bookings may be made online at HermitageArtistRetreat.org/ArtfulLobster2020 or by calling 941-475-2098, Ext. 5.

“While productions and performances around the world may be on hold, the creative process and artistic development are more essential than ever,” says Sandberg. “This year’s Artful Lobster is an opportunity to celebrate and champion the artists who will ultimately give us a reason to return to theaters, concert halls, and museums when it is safe to do so.”

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.”

 

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.