Save the Dates for our 2024-2025 Benefit Events

The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Sarasota County, Florida) announced today that its annual Artful Lobsterbenefit will be held on Saturday, November 9th, 2024, from 11:30am to 2pm. Now in its 16th year, this signature outdoor event raises valuable funds for the Hermitage’s renowned artist residency program. The Artful Lobster is the only Hermitage benefit to take place on the grounds of the historic Gulf front campus – outdoors beneath a large tent – located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood. Michael’s On East offers a delicious lobster feast, with performances from award-winning Hermitage Fellows. Past artists who have shared their talents at this popular event include acclaimed string quartet ETHEL, celebrated musical theater composer Adam Gwon, internationally renowned flutist Claire Chase, accomplished violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain and more.

The 17th annual Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner will be held on Sunday, April 6th, 2025, starting at 6pm at Michael’s On East in Sarasota. This elegant annual dinner heralds the jury-selected recipient of this prestigious prize, which will be awarded this season in the discipline of music. The Hermitage Greenfield Prize (HGP) is a distinguished national commission awarded by the Hermitage Artist Retreat in partnership with the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation; the $35,000 award rotates annually among music, theater, and visual art. The 2025 HGP winner’s newly commissioned work will have its first public presentation in Sarasota in the spring of 2027. Past performers at this event have included Tony Award-winning Hermitage Fellows Gavin Creel and Rachel Bay Jones, Tony Award nominee Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, renowned classical musicians, and more. 

Sponsorship information and additional details for both events will be announced at a later date. For early sponsorship inquiries, call (941) 475-2098, Ext. 2.

Past recipients of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize include: Deepa Purohit, playwright (2024) Sandy Rodriguez, visual artist (2023), Rennie Harris, dancer/choreographer (2023);  Angélica Negrón, composer (2022); Aleshea Harris, playwright (2021); Helga Davis, composer/performer (2019); Martyna Majok, playwright (2018); David Burnett, photojournalist (2017); Coco Fusco, interdisciplinary artist (2016); Bobby Previte, composer/drummer (2015); Nilo Cruz, playwright (2014); Trenton Doyle Hancock, visual artist (2013); Vijay Iyer, composer/pianist (2012); John Guare, playwright (2011); Sanford Biggers, visual artist (2010); Craig Lucas, playwright (2009); and Eve Beglarian, composer (2009).

Hermitage Raises Nearly $300,000 at the 15th Annual Artful Lobster – A Record-Breaking Celebration! 

The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Sarasota County, Florida) raised over $292,000 at the 2023 Hermitage Artful Lobster luncheon on Saturday, November 11th. Now in its 15th year and following the 20th anniversary of the Hermitage, this annual event raises valuable funds for the Hermitage’s internationally renowned artist residency program, supporting the creative process of artists from around the world in the fields of music, theater, visual art, literature, dance, and more. Over 200 guests attended the sold-out event, which took place outdoors on a beautiful November afternoon at the Hermitage’s historic beachfront campus. This year’s Artful Lobster was co-chaired by Terry Brackett and Suzette & Tim Flood, with Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg serving as the master of ceremonies. 

The event was headlined by world-renowned and Grammy Award-winning string quartet ETHEL. This was the first time in many years that all four members of ETHEL — Ralph FarrisKip JonesDorothy Lawson, and Corin Lee — were together at the Hermitage to help commemorate this milestone anniversary of this popular fall benefit. As part of the afternoon’s festivities, ETHEL delighted attendees with an uplifting and inspiring performance featuring selections from The River and Circus: Wandering City, two original works that were developed at the Hermitage. Highlights from the energetic performance included an audience participation segment and ETHEL member Kip Jones leaping through the crowd while playing the violin. Known for their acclaimed performances across the United States and around the world, ETHEL is comprised of four distinguished Hermitage alumni; this quartet of brilliant musicians has a deep connection with the Hermitage Artist Retreat, dating back to 2015. ETHEL’s residency and appearance at the 2023 Hermitage Artful Lobster were generously sponsored by Carol White Bold and Larry Bold. The outdoor event also featured a captivating performance by Emi Ferguson, a new Hermitage Fellow and celebrated flutist. Sharing from her book Iconic Composers, Ferguson charmed the audience with stories of John Williams overcoming his critics by telling tales from his once-ridiculed-now-iconic score to Jaws. Ferguson went on to perform an enchanting Williams composition from the film Memoirs of a Geisha.

“Great music, great art, great theater, great literature, great dance, great television – none of this happens without great artists,” said the Hermitage’s Andy Sandberg. “We are thankful to all who attended and supported this year’s Artful Lobster festivities. The generous outpouring of support for the work we are doing at the Hermitage is a demonstration of our community’s extraordinary commitment to the arts and the creative process.” Sandberg added that the proceeds from this year’s fall fundraiser will also support ongoing improvements and protections for the Hermitage campus following the impact of Hurricanes Ian and Idalia.

Sponsors and partners for the 2023 Artful Lobster included Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Key Agency, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and Sarasota Magazine. A full list of this year’s sponsors, benefactors, and partners can be found at HermitageArtistRetreat.org/ArtfulLobster2023.

Grammy-Winning ETHEL to Headline Artful Lobster

The Hermitage Artist Retreat announces today that world-renowned and Grammy Award-winning string quartet ETHEL will headline the Hermitage’s signature fall fundraising event, “The Artful Lobster: An Outdoor Celebration!” on Saturday, November 11th from 11:30am to 2pm at the Hermitage campus on Manasota Key. This is the first time in many years that all four members of ETHEL – Ralph FarrisKip JonesDorothy Lawson, and Corin Lee – will be reuniting at the Hermitage to celebrate this milestone anniversary of the event. This year’s Artful Lobster will also feature a performance by new Hermitage Fellow Emi Ferguson, a celebrated flutist and performer.

Now in its 15th year and following the 20th anniversary season of the Hermitage, the Artful Lobsterraises valuable funds for the Hermitage’s nationally renowned artist residency program, supporting the creative process of artists from around the world in the fields of music, theater, visual art, literature, dance, and more. This popular event, which takes place outdoors beneath a large tent on the Hermitage’s beachfront campus, features a lobster feast catered by Michael’s On East, in addition to live performances from renowned Hermitage Fellows. The co-chairs for the 2023 Artful Lobster are Terry Brackett and Suzette & Tim Flood

Grammy Award-winning ETHEL has performed across the United States and worldwide. They champion the art of music today, forging human connections across sound and style. ETHEL has premiered more than 250 works, many of them commissioned by the quartet consisting of four Hermitage alumni: Ralph Ferris (viola), Kip Jones (violin), Dorothy Lawson (cello), and Corin Lee (violin). At the heart of ETHEL is a collaborative ethos — a quest for common creative expression, forged in listening and community. The quartet has a deep connection with the Hermitage Artist Retreat, both as individuals and as an ensemble, dating back to 2015 and including the premiere of Circus: Wandering City conceived at the Hermitage in collaboration with the Ringling Museum of Art, where it was presented in 2018 at the Historic Asolo Theater. The quartet recently celebrated its 25th anniversary as a highly acclaimed performing ensemble. ETHEL’s upcoming residency and appearance at the Artful Lobster are generously underwritten by Carol White Bold & Larry Bold

Hailed by critics for her “tonal bloom” and “hauntingly beautiful performances,” English-American flutist and composer Emi Ferguson stretches the boundaries of what is expected of modern-day musicians. Ferguson’s unique approach to the flute can be heard in performances that alternate between silver flute, auxiliary flutes, and historical flutes, playing repertoire that stretches from the Renaissance to today. 

“We are incredibly excited to welcome ETHEL back to the Hermitage to perform at our 15th annual Artful Lobster,” says Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “All of ETHEL are extraordinary talents and have been great friends to the Hermitage. Though some members have been back to Manasota Key individually – most recently Ralph Farris and Dorothy Lawson – it is thrilling to welcome the full quartet back for this milestone occasion. We are honored that both ETHEL and the brilliant Emi Ferguson will be joining us to celebrate this special event, which helps to raise vital funds for our core residency program and the 50 programs we offer throughout the community each year.”

Sponsorship levels for this fundraiser range from $1,250 to $10,000. Sponsorships may be purchased by contacting Hermitage Development Director Amy Wallace at (941) 475-2098, Ext. 2. The event has limited capacity remaining, so timely bookings are strongly recommended.

Hermitage Announces Dates for 2023-2024 Benefit Events

The Hermitage Artist Retreat announced today that its annual Artful Lobsterbenefit will be held on Saturday, November 11th, 2023, from 11:30am to 2pm. Now in its 15th year and coming on the heels of the Hermitage’s 20th Anniversary season, this signature outdoor event raises valuable funds for the Hermitage’s renowned artist residency program. The Artful Lobster is the only Hermitage benefit to take place on the grounds of the historic Gulf front campus – outdoors beneath a large tent – located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood. Michael’s On East offers a delicious lobster feast, with performances from renowned Hermitage Fellows. This year’s event will be co-chaired by new Hermitage trustee Terry Brackett and longtime Hermitage supporters Suzette & Tim Flood. Ticket information and additional details are now available at: HermitageArtistRetreat.org/ArtfulLobster2023. For sponsorship inquiries, call Amy Wallace: (941) 475-2098, Ext. 2

Then in the spring, the 16th annual Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner will be held on Sunday, April 14th, 2024, starting at 6pm at Michael’s On East in Sarasota. This elegant annual dinner heralds the jury-selected recipient of this prestigious prize, which will be awarded this season in the discipline of theater. The Hermitage Greenfield Prize (HGP) is a distinguished national commission awarded by the Hermitage Artist Retreat in partnership with the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation; the award rotates annually among theater, music, and visual art. The 2024 HGP winner’s newly commissioned work will have its first public presentation in Sarasota in the spring of 2026. Ticket information and additional details will be announced later in the year. For sponsorship inquiries, call (941) 475-2098, Ext. 2.

2022 Artful Lobster Raises a Record-Breaking $265,000

The Hermitage Artist Retreat raised more than $265,000 at the 2022 Hermitage Artful Lobster luncheon on Saturday, November 12. Now in its fourteenth year and this year marking the 20thAnniversary Season of the organization, this annual event raises valuable funds for the Hermitage’s renowned artist residency program and expanded community programming initiatives. Proceeds from this year’s benefit will also be used to support campus repairs following the impact of Hurricane Ian. Over 200 guests attended the sold-out event, which took place outdoors beneath a large tent on the Hermitage’s historic beachfront campus and was co-chaired by Maryann Casey and Elizabeth Moore, with Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg as master of ceremonies. Michael’s On East served a plentiful barbeque and much-heralded lobster feast.

Hermitage Fellow and acclaimed musical composer Adam Gwon headlined the event. A recipient of the Kleban Award, the Fred Ebb Award, the Richard Rodgers Award, and the Frederick Loewe Award, among others, Adam Gwon’s work has been performed on six continents and across the United States at venues such as Roundabout Theatre, Signature Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and more. Gwon’s performance featured songs from his hit musical Scotland PA, which was written partly at the Hermitage, among other pieces. Gwon’s music was performed by the composer himself, along with accomplished vocalists Martina Long and Brandon Wardell. The event also featured an inspiring performance from Reggie Harris, a returning Hermitage alumnus, remarkably gifted musician and storyteller, and pillar of the international folk music scene for more than 40 years with his music regularly topping the folk charts. His skill and charm deliver a message of joy, unity, tolerance, and peace through the powerful medium of live music. 

“Great music, great art, great theater, great literature, great dance, great television – none of this happens without great artists,” noted Andy Sandberg. “We are thankful to all who attended or supported this year’s festivities. The generous outpouring of support for the work we are doing at the Hermitage is a demonstration of our community’s extraordinary commitment to the arts and the creative process.” Sandberg added that the proceeds from this year’s Artful Lobster will also support vital repairs to the Hermitage buildings and grounds following the impact of Hurricane Ian.

Sponsors and partners for the 2022 Artful Lobster include Gulf Coast Community Foundation, CHUBB, Key Agency, Herald-Tribune/LOCALiQ, and Sarasota Magazine. A full list of this year’s sponsors, benefactors, and partners can be found here.

Adam Gwon and Reggie Harris to Perform at 2022 Artful Lobster

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, now celebrating its 20th Anniversary Season, announced today that Hermitage Fellow Adam Gwon, an acclaimed musical theater composer whose work has been described by The New York Times as “funny and urbane with a sweetness that doesn’t cloy,” will headline the Hermitage’s signature fall fundraising event, “The Artful Lobster: An Outdoor Celebration!” on Saturday, November 12th from 11:30am to 2pm at the Hermitage campus on Manasota Key (Sarasota County, Florida). Gwon is joined by Reggie Harris, a returning Hermitage alumnus, remarkably gifted musician and storyteller, and pillar of the international folk music scene for more than 40 years. Harris will also be presenting a community program at Booker High School as part of the “Hermitage @ Booker” series on Friday, November 4th

Now in its 14th year, the Artful Lobster raises valuable funds for the Hermitage’s nationally renowned artist residency program, supporting the creative process of artists from around the world in the fields of music, theater, visual art, literature, dance, and more. This popular event, which takes place outdoors beneath a large tent on the Hermitage’s beachfront campus, features a lobster feast catered by Michael’s On East, in addition to live performances from renowned Hermitage Fellows. The co-chairs for the 2022 Artful Lobster are Maryann Casey and Elizabeth Moore

A recipient of the Kleban Award, the Fred Ebb Award, the Richard Rodgers Award, and the Frederick Loewe Award, among others, Adam Gwon’s work has been performed on six continents and across the United States at venues such as Roundabout Theatre, Signature Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and more. 

A consummate storyteller and teaching artist, Reggie Harris’ music has regularly topped the folk charts. His skill and charm deliver a message of joy, unity, tolerance, and peace through the powerful medium of live music. 

Hermitage Announces Dates for 2022-2023 Benefit Events as Part of 20th Anniversary Season

Kicking off the Hermitage Artist Retreat’s 20th Anniversary Season, the Hermitage’s annual Artful Lobster: An Outdoor Celebration will be held on Saturday, November 12, 2022, from 11:30am to 2pm. Now in its 14th year, this signature event raises valuable funds for the Hermitage’s renowned artist residency program. The Artful Lobster is the only Hermitage benefit to take place on the grounds of the historic Gulf front campus – outdoors beneath a large tent – located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood. Michael’s On East offers a luscious lobster feast, with performances from renowned Hermitage Fellows. 

The 15th Anniversary of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner will be held on Sunday, April 16, 2023, from 6pm to 8:30pm outdoors on the grounds of The Ringling Museum in Sarasota and catered by Michael’s On East. This elegant dinner heralds the jury-selected recipient of this prestigious prize, which will be awarded in the discipline of visual art in 2023. The $30,000 Hermitage Greenfield Prize is an annual commission awarded by the Hermitage Artist Retreat in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation, and rotates among music, theater, and visual art. The 2023 prize winner’s newly commissioned work will have its first public presentation in Sarasota in the spring of 2025. 

The Hermitage Raises More Than $225,000 at 2021 Artful Lobster – A Record-Breaking Celebration!

The Hermitage Artist Retreat raised more than $225,000 at the 2021 Artful Lobster luncheon on November 13. Now in its thirteenth year, the Artful Lobster raises valuable funds for the Hermitage’s renowned artist residency program and community programming initiatives. Amidst limited capacity and added safety precautions, 200 guests attended the sold-out event, which took place outdoors beneath a large tent on the Hermitage’s historic beachfront campus and was co-chaired by Charlie Huisking and Charlotte Perret, with Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg as master of ceremonies. Michael’s On East served a plentiful barbecue and much-heralded lobster feast.

Dorothy Lawson, a Hermitage Fellow and founding cellist and artistic director of the genre-bending string quartet ETHEL, headlined the event and riveted the audience with her virtuosic cello performance and tales of her time at the Hermitage. She was introduced by popular radio personality Terrance McKnight, evening host of WQXR New York Public Radio and a member of the Hermitage National Curatorial Council. Lawson played an original song from a full-length musical experience that she and her fellow ETHEL musicians created during their Hermitage residency. To celebrate the Hermitage’s free community programs and collaborations, Raleigh Mosely II, a friend of the Hermitage and frequent performer with the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, powerfully delivered an original song written by musical theater composer and Hermitage Fellow Rona Siddiqui. Following lunch, Lawson returned to the stage to perform her interpretation of a piece by Bach, which she dedicated to the memory of the late Susan Brainerd, a recent Hermitage trustee who sponsored Lawson’s last visit to the Hermitage earlier this year.

“When Bach composed his cello suites, nobody was writing that kind of music – it was brand new,” said Terrance McKnight as he introduced Lawson and shared his perspective on the role of the Hermitage. “Legendary artists like Bach composed some of the music we have today because of a benefactor. This is such an important conversation to have today because the work that you all are doing by supporting the Hermitage is inspiring these artists.”

“Great music, great art, great theater, great literature, great television – none of this happens without great artists,” added Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Sandberg. “We are thankful to all who attended or supported this year’s festivities. The generous outpouring of support for the work we are doing at the Hermitage is a demonstration of our community’s extraordinary commitment to the arts and the creative process.”

Sponsors and partners for the 2021 Artful Lobster include Gulf Coast Community Foundation, CHUBB, Key Agency, Herald-Tribune/LOCALiQ, and Sarasota Magazine. A full list of this year’s sponsors, benefactors, and partners can be found at HermitageArtistRetreat.org/ArtfulLobster2021.

Acclaimed ETHEL cellist Dorothy Lawson to headline 2021 Artful Lobster

The Hermitage Artist Retreat announced today that Dorothy Lawson, a Hermitage Fellow, acclaimed cellist, 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!” on November 13 from 11:30am to 2pm at the Hermitage campus on Manasota Key (Sarasota County, Florida).

Now in its 13th year, the Artful Lobster raises valuable funds for the Hermitage’s nationally renowned artist residency program, supporting the creative process of artists from around the world in the fields of music, theater, visual art, literature, and more. This popular event takes place outdoors beneath a large tent on the Hermitage’s beachfront campus. 

A Juilliard-trained cellist and composer, Lawson is a founding member and artistic director of ETHEL, one of America’s most adventurous string quartets. She has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the White Oak Dance Project, Philharmonia Virtuosi, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and numerous new music ensembles.

“We are incredibly excited to have Dorothy Lawson returning to the Hermitage to perform at this year’s Artful Lobster,” says Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “Dorothy is an extraordinary performer with an innovative and radiant spirit – not to mention a great friend to the Hermitage. The audience at this year’s Artful Lobster is in for a real treat!”

Though this year’s Artful Lobster is now sold out, waitlist inquiries can be made by contacting Amy Wallace at (941) 475-2098, Ext. 2.

The co-chairs for the 2021 Artful Lobster are Charlie Huisking and Charlotte Perret. This year’s event is dedicated to the memory of Susan M. Brainerd, a beloved Hermitage trustee who passed away earlier this year. Brainerd generously served as the sponsor of Dorothy Lawson’s most recent Hermitage residency, which culminated with performances at Selby Gardens Downtown and Historic Spanish Point.

Dates announced for 2020 Artful Lobster and 2021 Greenfield Prize Dinner

The Hermitage Artist Retreat announced the dates for the organization’s two signature fundraising events in 2020-2021. The highly popular Artful Lobster will be Saturday, November 14, 2020, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Hermitage’s historic campus on Manasota Key. The Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner, which will honor the 2021 prize recipient, is scheduled for Sunday, April 11, 2021, 6-8:30 p.m., at Michael’s On East in Sarasota. Details for both events, including ticket prices, sponsorship opportunities and entertainment, will be announced later in the summer.