Ringling Museum/Hermitage Partnership

The Hermitage is proud of a new partnership with the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. This extensive agreement will bring Hermitage artists to the grounds of the Museum as resident artists staying in the newly restored Ringling Cottage new the Ca d’ Zan mansion. The residency will be known as the Gulf Coast Community Foundation/Hermitage Residency at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

The Hermitage Artist Retreat is pleased to announce a partnership with The John and
Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which will establish a residency for a Hermitage Fellow
on the museum grounds. The Gulf Coast Community Foundation/Hermitage Residency at
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is named to commemorate the Gulf Coast
Community Foundation’s financial support in the renovation of the Ringling Cottage
wherein the residency will be housed. As with all Hermitage Fellows, the artist or artists
will have up to six weeks time to work in this prestigious location. Also, as with all
Hermitage Fellows, the artist(s) will present two community “give-back” programs.
“When The Ringling Museum contacted us about this possibility, we were very
excited,” remarked Executive Director Bruce E. Rodgers. “Our campus on Manasota Key
has five buildings and about the same number of work spaces. This gives us the
opportunity to expand our live/work space without any capital investment. It also allows
us to accommodate another world-class artist who we will be able to share with the
community.”

Unlike the artists invited to the Manasota campus that may or may not be working
on a specific project, it is expected that the Gulf Coast Community
Foundation/Hermitage Residency at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art will
be offered to artists working on projects that can benefit by living and working on the
Museum grounds. Those projects might be directly related to Ringling collections,
exhibitions, and programs, or there may be a tangential connection as to studies in
history, social sciences, architecture, etc. There are many reasons to be inspired by the
setting of The Ringling Museum campus.

“This is a remarkable situation between three organizations that collectively
understand the important contribution that art makes to our lives,” commented Dwight
Currie, Interim Deputy Director of Collections, Exhibitions and Programs for The
Ringling Museum. “While it is our mission to preserve and enhance an appreciation of
art, we are not often actively involved in its creation. The new partnership with the
Hermitage affords us that role. And it goes without saying how much we appreciate the
generous support of our donors and organizations like the Gulf Coast Community
Foundation who make it possible for us to provide our services to the community. The
Museum is proud to join these two outstanding organizations in creating this
opportunity.”

The first Gulf Coast Community Foundation/Hermitage Resident will be the
writer Steve Kuusisto. Kuusisto is a past Hermitage Fellow. He is a writer who writes
about experiencing life as someone with a disability; he has been blind since birth.
During his residency from January 17 to February 27, 2011, he will be adding to his ongoing
research into the relationship between the circus and people with disabilities. As
part of the residency program, the public is invited to attend a presentation to be given by
Kuusisto on Saturday, February 19, 2011 in the Circus Museum.

“The museum and all of its resources are very unique assets which we can now
offer to our renowned group of artists,” Rodgers continued. “Our selection committee has
been charged with submitting names of artists who will benefit from this type of
experience, which will be quite different from being on the Manasota Key campus. We
are very excited to be adding this unique artistic experience to our program.”

Executive Director on RIAF Panel

t was great fun to sit on a panel with four really smart people talking about art and its making. Many common themes criss-crossed among the many different points of view and experiences the panel brought to the program. The discussion took place in the Historic Asolo Theatre on the campus of the John and Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota.

Photo: Jay Handelman
It was great fun to sit on a panel with four really smart people talking about art and its making. Many common themes criss-crossed among the many different points of view and experiences the panel brought to the program. The discussion took place in the Historic Asolo Theatre on the campus of the John and Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota. The museum is in the middle of the Ringling International Arts Festival (RIAF) this weekend with over 100 international artists in theater, dance, music as well as performances in strange and wonderful combinations of those disciplines. The Festival is produced in collaboration with the Baryshnikov Center in New York City who curates the programming with the Museum. Congratulations to the Ringling Museum for creating this wonderful festival – yet another reason why Sarasota is such a great place to live, work, and visit.

By the way, in this picture did you notice how everyone is looking one direction and and I’m looking the other? For some reason this is not unusual for me. I can’t explain it. Thanks to Jay Handelman, critic for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, for the picture. I stole if from his blog about the event which can be read at: Handelman Blog

Justice Served for Playwright

Catherine Filloux: Seeking justice, she finds it.

Playwright Catherine Filloux seeks justice in her plays while she deeply explores distress and ugliness in her literary realm of human rights and female genocide. As deeply as she sees and feels those horrors, she saw and felt the beauty of the Hermitage Artist Retreat. While at the Hermitage, it was clear in her eyes, her voice, and her whole expression, that she emotionally absorbs nature’s contrasting serenity and marvel, just as fully as she takes in the cruelty of the lifescapes of Cambodia and Bosnia.

“Justice” is Catherine losing herself in a well-deserved beach run, a luxurious swim, and a breathtaking sunset.

Catherine Filloux at her beach reading
The Sunset after Catherine's beach reading

Photos by Kathye Faries

The Alliance of Artist Communities

I’m often asked how many artist communities there are. It’s not an easy number to come by as it depends on how you define an artist community.

I’m often asked how many artist communities there are.  It’s not an easy number to come by as it depends on how you define an artist community.  However, there are over 400 organizational members of the Alliance of Artist Communities. So that gives us a good clue.  And according to the Alliance, there are two qualifications to be an artist community:

  1. Not-for-profit status ( a 501(C)3 designation from the IRS)
  2. A competitive process for admission

Well what is the Alliance of Artist Communities and why do they get to say? 

Almost all arts disciplines have “service organizations” whose mission is to serve and speak for the field.  For example, symphony orchestras have the League of American Orchestras, and not-for-profit theaters have the Theatre Communications Group.  They are industry organizations that have the big picture view of the field they serve.  So our industry organization is the Alliance of Artist Communities, located in Providence, RI.

What do they do?

They convene an annual conference where member organizations gather, attend sessions and panels about topics relevant to the field, and hear guest speakers and keynotes address issues and challenges that all of us in the field face.  These may have to do with fundraising, assessing and meeting community challenges with you organization, different processes for selecting artists, the latest not-for-profit accounting changes that effect artist communities – all kinds of “nuts and bolts” information relevant to our work.  This year the conference is October 20 – 23 in Providence, and you can click HERE to connect to the Alliance conference web page for all the info.  (Everyone is welcome!).

But when the National Endowment for the Arts expressed interest in creating a separate funding category for artist communities, the Endowment approached the Alliance as spokesperson and expert for the field.  Then through this relationship, the Endowment and the Alliance created a new program that addresses our needs, the results of which is dramatically increased funding from the Endowment for artist communities across America.  Last year, the Hermitage received $20,000 of those funds. (Yeah!!!) 

And if you or your cousin or friend down the block wants to start an artist community  – you contact the Alliance.  They have a whole program dedicated to helping new and emerging communities get off the ground.

The Alliance website itself is a huge resources to the communities AND to the individual artists who want to apply to work at a community.  They maintain an extensive, searchable database of American and international artist communities and a paid ($25) membership gives individuals access to the database with a huge variety of search tools to find just the right creative experience.

The Alliance provides many more services, and more than I have time to detail in this post.  I encourage you to explore their website.  Understanding the Alliance will help you understand the field of artist communities like the Hermitage, as a whole.  It’s a rich, tremendously varied field.

Enjoy.