Artful Lobster Nov. 9

The highly popular Artful Lobster is our signature fundraising event, and the only one to take place on our Manasota Key Gulf-front campus. With luscious lobster, a complete gourmet buffet, live entertainment by Hermitage artists, and an anticipated auction, the Artful Lobster kicks off the season for many in our community.

NEW THIS YEAR – There will be an air conditioned trolley bringing Artful Lobster attendees to the Hermitage from Sarasota.

Learn more here.

Co-chaired by Susan Brainerd and Susan McLeod, all proceeds go toward the Hermitage mission: inspiring the artists of our time.  

Artful Lobster 2011 A Great Success!

It was a picture perfect day for the annual Artful Lobster (AL) event at the Hermitage Artist Retreat. Thanks to the efforts of three-time Chair and Hermitage Trustee Debbi Benedict and her talented committee, the AL had its largest attendance to date.

Cellist Michael Fitzpatrick
Cellist Michael Fitzpatrick

It was a picture perfect day for the annual Artful Lobster (AL) event at the Hermitage Artist Retreat. Thanks to the efforts of three-time Chair and Hermitage Trustee Debbi Benedict and her talented committee, the AL had its largest attendance to date; exciting new live and silent auction items, including unique trips to Santa Fe, Antibes and Washington DC; and the always anticipated delicious lobster and barbecue lunch prepared and served by Michael’s On East. Guests were invited to tour the historic campus, generally not open to the public. All artists in residence were in attendance and spoke to guests about their work and Hermitage experience. Topping off the program was a special performance by guest artist and past Hermitage Fellow, Cellist Michael Fitzpatrick. The audience rose to their feet with a standing ovation and if that wasn’t enough, everyone went home with a specially-created CD of Fitzpatrick’s music. And of course it was a rousing financial success. While all bills are not yet accounted for, the ballpark figures point to the largest profit in the event’s history. Thanks to all who attended and contributed to make the afternoon so special.

Special Artful Lobster Treat!

There’s something new happening at this year’s Artful Lobster fundraiser on the Hermitage campus. We have invited one of our early artists, renowned cellist Michael Fitzpatrick to return to the Hermitage and perform a brief, pre-lunch concert for this year’s event and Michael has generously agreed. This is a great gift to the Hermitage and to our supporters who attend the event.

Michael performing for the Dali Lama during his 'Talk For World Peace' in Washington, D.C.

There’s something new happening at this year’s Artful Lobster fundraiser on the Hermitage campus. We have invited one of our early artists, renowned cellist Michael Fitzpatrick to return to the Hermitage and perform a brief, pre-lunch concert for this year’s event and Michael has generously agreed. This is a great gift to the Hermitage and to our supporters who attend the event. Michael performs around the world, most recently for the Dali Lama’s “Talk For World Piece” in Washingtion, D.C., and as a featured soloist at the Spoleto Festival in Milan, Italy. We’re adding a little more art to the Artful Lobster and it is a special treat for everyone!

The Artful Lobster takes place on the Hermitage campus on November 19, 2011 from 11am to 2pm. Catered by Michael’s On East, the lunch features 1.5 lb Maine lobsters, grilled chicken, ribs, corn on the cob, chowder, and all the extras. There will be a brief live auction of one-of-a-kind items and vacations in addition to specialty gift baskets with values from $500 – $1600 in silent auction. Tickets are $125 general and $250 patron. Table sponsorships are $2500. All proceeds from the event support free Hermitage community activities in Sarasota, Charlotte, and Manatee counties. Tickets can be purchased right here on this website or by calling 941-475-2098.

The Artful Lobster has become a fall tradition on Florida’s Southwest coast. It’s a perfectly lovely way to spend a relaxing afternoon in the amazing environment that inspires painters, poets, and playwrights from around the world. Dress is casual and the “vibe” is informal. Tour the charming artist studios, meet the resident artists, and enjoy connecting with old friends and meeting new ones.

Thank You from a Grateful Artful Lobster

While we’re not through balancing the books on the Artful Lobster, it’s clear that many thousands of dollars were raised that will allow us to continue supporting world-class, mid-career writers, painters, poets, playwrights, and other primary creators.

Mother Nature set the quality standard; the temperate Gulf breezes, the azure water, miles of pristine beach, and wheeling gulls and osprey fishing for their meal. Michael’s on East stepped up with mounds of delicious lobster, ribs, chicken, chowder, corn and all the trimmings. Hermitage artists Christopher Still, Andrew McKenna Lee, Robert Blake and Fellows Sabrina Small and Meg Pierce shared their work and made it clear why they were Hermitage artists. Scott Blum and Los Rumberos provided just the right music, MC and auctioneer Cliff Roless kept the program rolling, and event chair Debbi Benedict and her committee had it all well organized. None of these events happen without a team of volunteers and our Friends of the Hermitage led by Connie Ellis are the very best. The Lemon Bay Garden Club came out before the event to help us spruce up out campus. And our media sponsors, Sarasota Magazine and Scene Magazine helped make sure that everyone knew about it in the first place. We thank them as well.

In the end, the event was a great success. While we’re not through balancing the books on the Artful Lobster, it’s clear that many thousands of dollars were raised that will allow us to continue supporting world-class, mid-career writers, painters, poets, playwrights, and other primary creators, and then sharing them with our Gulf Coast communities in free programs for children, adults, and seniors. These funds will also help us preserve these magnificent historic buildings and protect the native ecology that we all love and enjoy so much.

The support we enjoy for our work is humbling, and it inspires us to make certain the investment in the Hermitage Artist Retreat made by individuals, foundations, corporations, and County and national government is leveraged and returned to the community in the unique benefits only we can provide.

Thank you.

Honoree Lesley Edwards and her mother, Annette Dignam Photo by Cliff Roles, courtesy of Scene Magazine


Event Chair Debbi Benedict with Hermitage President Caroline Andrus
Photo by Cliff Roles, courtesy of Scene Magazine

The Artful Lobster Returns

It’s that time of year again, the time when the Lobsters begin their long trek from the cold waters of Maine, to the warm waters and gentle breezes of the Gulf of Mexico – no easy trip for a creature with 8 legs and two claws. But the Artful Lobster is no average crustacean and we appear right on schedule for our November 20th date.


It’s that time of year again, the time when the Lobsters begin their long trek from the cold waters of Maine, to the warm waters and gentle breezes of the Gulf of Mexico – no easy trip for a creature with 8 legs and two claws. But the Artful Lobster is no average crustacean and we appear right on schedule for our November 20th date.

For those of your new to this fun event, The Artful Lobster is the only annual fundraiser held on the Hermitage campus, and the only time when you can be guaranteed that all studios will be open and that a full compliment of artists will be there for you to meet and speak with.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features a New England feast prepared by Phil Mancini and his staff of Michael’s On East. You can look forward to 1 ½ pound Maine Lobsters with drawn butter, mesquite grilled chicken, St. Louis Barbecue Ribs, New England Clam Chowder, Corn on the Cob, Red Skin Potatoes, Corn bread, and a salad station.

In addition to the delicious menu, you will enjoy a special display of art for enjoyment and for purchase by Hermitage Fellows; music by Los Rumberos; a short, live auction with exciting items and vacations, Cliff Roles auctioneer; four Hermitage artists (a performer/composer, a photographer, a poet, and a painter); tours through our historic buildings; perfect weather; unforgettable views; and great friends.

Stay tuned to our blog as we will profile each of the artists who you will have a chance to meet, and whose work you will see and hear in exhibition, reading, and performance. More details about auction items and other exciting activities for the afternoon will be posted on our Artful Lobster web page. This is going to be great!

Purchase your ticket and reserve your space online by clicking HERE or call 941-475-2098.