Award-Winning Writer Joseph Novakovich Presents Free Discussions of Creative Writing

Hermitage writer in residence Josip Novakovich, award-winning writer and creative writing professor will present two literary talks. At each, he will read from his work, as well as speak on creative writing from two different directions.

Hermitage writer in residence Josip Novakovich, award-winning writer and creative writing professor will present two literary talks. At each, he will read from his work, as well as speak on creative writing from two different directions.

The readings and talks will take place on Friday, April 22, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Four Winds Café on the New College Campus and on Saturday, April 23, at Bookstore 1, 1359 Main Street in Sarasota beginning at 6:00 pm. Both events are free and open to the public.

On Friday at New College, Novakovich will speak about writing in English when it is not your first language. A significant fraction of contemporary writing in the United States is done in English by writers whose native language is not English–Ha Jin, Julia Alvarez, Andre Codrescu, Gary Shteyngart, and hundreds of others. He will talk about his own experience, writing in English rather than his native Croatian, and about editing an anthology by linguistic immigrants, and the issues involved in the phenomenon of linguistic migration in literature.

On Saturday, at Bookstore 1, the title of his talk is the DeConstruction of Construction.” Novakovich explains “Some stories grow spontaneously out of an idea or impression or a sentence, and some stories require deliberate architectural planning, to be assembled from ideas, research, and materials from various sources, such as old journals, newspapers, letters, interviews. In addition, to transcend the linear and obvious plot line, one might resort to a variety of permutations of what’s possible, as though playing a chess game. Permutation is the mother of invention.”

Josip Novakovich lived in Croatia until he was twenty. He is the author of the novel April Fool’s Day, which was translated into ten languages, three essay collections, three story collections, and two writing textbooks, including Fiction Writer’s Workshop, a Quality Paperback and Book of the Month Club selection. His work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. A recipient of the Whiting Writer’s Award, the Ingram Merrill Award, and an American Book Award, he has been a writing fellow of the New York Library and of the Black Mountain Institute in Las Vegas. Novakovich teaches in the creative writing program at Concordia University in Montreal. He has a new collection of essays, The Art
of Coughing, coming out later this year, and he has just completed a satirical novel, Russian Doubles.

“Josip plans to read a story set in the Yugoslav wars in November 1991, during the siege of Vukovar,” added Bruce Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage Artist Retreat. “These evening presentations will be of interest not only to students of creative writing and literature, but also to those interested in current and recent history of the Balkans, political science and international relations. These are two opportunities to experience a fascinating evening with a recognized author and scholar.”

Josip Novakovich lived in Croatia until he was twenty. He is the author of the novel April Fool’s Day, which appeared in ten languages, three essay collections, three story collections, and two writing textbooks, such as Fiction Writer’s Workshop, a Quality Paperback and Book of the Month Club selection. His work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. A recipient of the Whiting Writer’s Award, the Ingram Merrill Award, and an American Book Award, he has been a writing fellow of the New York Library and of the Black Mountain Institute in Las Vegas. Novakovich teaches in the creative writing program at Concordia University in Montreal. He has a new collection of essays, The Art of Coughing, coming out later this year, and he has just completed a satirical novel, Russian Doubles.

The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood. It brings mid-career painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for extended stays on its 8.5-acre campus. Each artist is asked to contribute two services to the community during their stay. So far, Hermitage artists have touched over 7,500 Gulf Coast community children and adults with their unique and inspiring programs. For more information about the literary workshops and readings, or to learn more about The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098 or visit the website at www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

One Beautiful Evening – Three Open Studios

It’s no April fools, three incredible artists are in residence at the Hermitage and they’re throwing open the doors of their studios for you to see their work.

Bradley Wester
Bradley Wester in the Hermitage Studio

Bradley Wester
is a New York visual artist working in a hybrid medium that combines painting, sculpture, digital imaging and installation. For the past ten years Wester has worked on a project where he lives and creates in three disparate but geographically symmetrical cultures, ultimately resulting in three connected bodies of work: Rome (West) and Kyoto (East). And at the Hermitage, Wester is completing the third and last body of work; Istanbul, the geographic gateway between East And West. He has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions across the U.S. and in Europe including most recently at Margalef & Gipponi Gallery in Antwerp, Belgium. Awards include: Specialist Fulbright Fellowship to Kyoto, Japan, two MacDowell Fellowships, Pollock-Krasner Grantee, and twice-published in “New American Paintings.” Wester has also designed theater sets for Off-Broadway, television and film.

Laurie Olinder
is a painter and an award-winning theatrical designer based in New York City. She has been commissioned to create multimedia visuals for many composers including John Adams, Philip Glass, David Lang and Julia Worlfe. She is founding member of Ridge Theater and has been recognized with two Obie awards, a Bessie award , and an Eliot Norton Award.

Hobey Ford
is winner of puppetry’s highest honor, the UNIMA Citation of Excellence, and recipient of three Jim Henson Foundation grants. He is known for excellence in puppetry performance and craft. Adapting folk tales from various cultures for many of his performances, he is considered both an innovator in puppetry craft and a master storyteller. Ford uses his own voice to create characters and sound effects, tell stories and sing throughout his performances In conjunction with The Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education program, Ford provides teacher workshops in puppetry. 


Date: Friday, April 1, 2011

Time: 6:00 to 8:00 pm

Location: The Beach at the Hermitage Artist Retreat
6660 Manasota Key Rd., Englewood, FL
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Price: FREE!

Reservations: None Required

Sarasota Orchestra World Premiere of “Two Nights on the River” by Hermitage Artist and Greenfield Prize winner Eve Beglarian

“Two Nights on the River” was inspired by composer Eve Beglarian’s four-month trip by kayak down the Mississippi.

Eve BeglarianOn Saturday, March 26 come experience the world premiere of a chamber music composition by the first Greenfield Prize recipient in Music, Eve Beglarian. A renowned composer, Beglarian has been working with musicians from the Sarasota Orchestra to present her original musical piece inspired by a four-month journey she took by kayak down the entire length of the Mississippi River. The performance will be at Holley Hall in the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center beginning at 8:00 pm. Tickets begin at $15 and can be obtained through the Sarasota Orchestra box office at 941-953-3434.

The piece is “Two Nights on the River” in two movements: “Waiting for Billy Floyd” and Early in the Morning. Eve’s inspiration for “Waiting for Billy Floyd” included Eudora Welty’s short story “At the Landing”.

Date and time: 8:00 pm, March 26
Place: Holley Hall in the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center
Price: $15

Missy Mazzoli Making Music

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, in partnership with New College of Florida, invite the public to meet one of America’s most talented composers, Missy Mazzoli, on Wednesday, March 16, 2001, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, at the Mildred F. Sainer Art & Music Pavilion in Sarasota. There is no charge for this program.

Missy Mazzoli

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, in partnership with New College of Florida, invite the public to meet one of America’s most talented composers, Missy Mazzoli, on Wednesday, March 16, 2001, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, at the Mildred F. Sainer Art & Music Pavilion in Sarasota. There is no charge for this program.

Mazzoli will perform “Orizzonte,” an original piece for piano and electronics and will play recordings of her orchestra music “Victoire,” and the opera she is working on at the Hermitage, “Song From The Uproar.” The audience will have the opportunity to dialogue with the award-winning composer as she discusses the many different but related musical projects on which she is working.

“Blithly ignoring boundaries of genre and style, Missy Mazzoli composes music that speaks to a wide and discerning audience. Her musical vision is bold, large and inclusive,” states Stephen Miles, Director of New Music at New College and the moderator for the event.

Mazzoli’s music has been heard throughout the world in performances by many of the leading orchestras. She has been a featured composer at several prominent music venues and was commissioned to create new pieces by such organizations as the Whitney Museum and Carnegie Hall. Mazzoli studied music composition at the Yale School of Music, the Royal Conservatory of the Hague and Boston University. She is a recipient of a Fulbright Grant to the Netherlands and has won the 2007 and 2008 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award and a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is currently the Executive Director of the MATA festival of New Music in New York City, which is dedicated to promoting new works by young composers. An active pianist, Mazzoli performs with her quartet that is dedicated exclusively to her own compositions. According to Bruce E. Rodgers, Hermitage’s Executive Director, “Missy is one of America’s newest music superstars. Her talent is extraordinary as her compositions range from complex symphonies to those that were performed at the Bang-On-A-Can New Music Marathon. The Hermitage is pleased to offer this artist-in-residence a quiet place to compose her newest piece – an opera.”

Tony-award winning theater director Oskar Eustis discusses his film “Theater of War”

In partnership with New College, the Asolo Repertory Theatre, and The Gulf Coast Foundation, the Hermitage presents a screening of “The Theater of War,” a documentary about the making of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage, as produced by NYC’s Public Theater in Central Park. Oskar Eustis, Tony-award winning artistic director for NYC’s Public Theater, will be at the screening to talk about the making of the play, and enter dialogue with the audience.

In partnership with New College, the Asolo Repertory Theatre, and The Gulf Coast Foundation, the Hermitage presents a screening of “The Theater of War,” a documentary about the making of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage, as produced by NYC’s Public Theater in Central Park. Oskar Eustis, Tony-award winning artistic director for NYC’s Public Theater, will be at the screening to talk about the making of the play, and enter dialogue with the audience.

Event date: Sunday, March 27 at 1:00 pm

Price: FREE, but reservations are required. Seating is limited. Call the Asolo Theatre reservation line 941-351-9010 x 4710.

Location: The Sainer Pavilion at New College, 5313 Bay Shore Road Sarasota, Florida 34243

Poems written at the Hermitage will be read at Bookstore 1

Hermitage Fellow Robert Cording will read poems written at, and some inspired by the Hermitage Artist Retreat along with poems from his new book “Walking with Ruskin” at Bookstore 1 on Thursday, March 10 at 6:00pm. (1359 Main Street, Sarasota)

Robert CordingHermitage Fellow Robert Cording will read poems written at, and some inspired by the Hermitage Artist Retreat along with poems from his new book “Walking with Ruskin” at Bookstore 1 on Thursday, March 10 at 6:00pm. (1359 Main Street, Sarasota)

A Poem from Robert Cording

Poet Robert Cording reads his poem 1964 at the Historic Asolo Theatre in Sarasota – January 6, 2011

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Poet Robert Cording reads from his work on the stage of the Historic Asolo at the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. He shared the stage the evening of January 6, 2011 with writer and pianist Lisa Weiss and composer Laura Kaminsky. It was a magical evening and Bob’s poem, 1964 gives you a good idea why.

Tom Sleigh at Historic Asolo on Thursday

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, in partnership with the Historic Asolo Theater of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art are bringing you the chance to meet an extraordinary American poet and writer. Tom Sleigh will read from his work and talk about his incredible life as a writer at the Historic Asolo on Thursday, November 11 at 7:30 pm.

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, in partnership with the Historic Asolo Theater of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art are bringing you the chance to meet an extraordinary American poet and writer. Tom Sleigh will read from his work and talk about his incredible life as a writer at the Historic Asolo on Thursday, November 11 at 7:30 pm. Call the Historic Asolo Theater at 941.360.7399 for reservations.

Tom wrote us this note about his life:
You could say that my life has resembled a double feature, plus the newsreel.

When I was a kid, the first feature was of me going to the movies every night because my parents owned a drive-in movie theater out in east Texas, red clay and piney woods country. My mother worked the snackbar, my father the projector. That was my first experience of poetry: enormous shadows on a screen, voices coming from the grille of the metal speaker like voices from other worlds.

The second feature was about a man who travelled to some of those worlds—like San Cristobal de Las Casas in southern Mexico, where I worked with the anthropologist and photographer, Gertrude Blom. At Na Balom—which means in Mayan the House of the Jaguar—I worked with the Lacandon Indians, the tribe most like the ancient Maya. And let’s not forget the newsreel: in the last few years, I’ve been to Lebanon and Syria, as well as to Kenya, where I’ve seen the lives of Palestinian and Somali refugees up close.

Throughout both features and “the newsy” as we used to call it, I’ve tried to write as closely to the bone as I could: Marilyn Monroe getting a massage, the greenish haze of teargas, cats lounging on tanks, a Somali poet singing a song for me. And more ordinary moments: the experience of finding my father’s Army records when he went to flight school, the way my mother’s dog looks at her sometimes, the sound of kids yelling their heads off as they splash naked in a pond.

Tom is the author of more than half a dozen volumes of poetry. Space Walk (2007) won the 2008 Kingsley Tufts Award, a prize worth $100,000, and earned Sleigh considerable critical acclaim. Referring to this collection, poet Philip Levine noted, “Sleigh’s reviewers use words such as ‘adept,’ ‘elegant,’ and ‘classical.’ Reading his new book, I find all those terms beside the point, even though not one is inaccurate. I am struck by the human dramas that are enacted in these poems, the deep encounters that often shatter the participants and occasionally restore them. What delights me most is seeing a poet of his accomplishments and his large and well-earned reputation suddenly veer into a new arena of both our daily and our mythical lives. For the writer, such daring may be its own reward; for the reader, it is thrilling to overhear a writer pushing into greatness.” Sleigh has also received the Shelley Award from the Poetry Society of America, an Individual Writer’s Award from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, a Guggenheim grant, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, and an Academy Award from the Academy of American Poets.

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.”

It Takes A Village

Most not-for-profits like the Hermitage are supported by heros, both “sung” and “unsung.” Often those of the “unsung” hue are merchants and service providers who give and do not receive enough credit for their gifts. I’m reminded of this as we wrap up the major annual maintenance work and upgrades on our facility. Let us begin with Sarasota County, through the Parks and Recreation Department, who are major unsung heros for underwriting the costs of this work. You see, we had wood rot, dry rot, and wool rot. Such is life under the Florida sun and humidity on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. And the County stepped up and helped us with the costly repair and we are so grateful for their help.

Libby's LogoThese extensive carpentry repairs were done by other unsung heros Pat Ball Construction and their foreman, Hitch Bier. Pat Ball and Hitch went way beyond what the needed to do, contributing approximately $3,000 of additional work beyond the scope of their contract. They did this because they care – they care about our community, they care about the history embedded in these old buildings, and they understand the importance of preserving the history the building represents. The entire Hermitage House was repainted by Coating Solutions, Inc represented by Bud Tippins and his crew. More work done above and beyond the scope. We had a sliding glass door donated by Jon Cole and Tom Dignam donated the labor to install it in the Whitney Garage, transforming that space into a year-round visual art studio with air conditioning and heat.

We have five A/C units on campus. They are maintained by Castle Air. We get a deal from company owner, Blaise Castellano – often free labor and used parts, and a “not-for-profit price” on other HVAC costs. Blinds Blinds is a window covering company who has donated blinds to us, and given us good prices on the rest.

We have also been blessed with generosity from Steve Seidensticker at Libby’s Cafe and Bar, and Ash Shukla and Denise May at Chutney’s, eateries that have fed both artists and VIPs for us.

We wanted you to know some of the people and organizations who, behind the scenes, have been heroic in their generosity. If you see them, please thank them for supporting the Hermitage. Even better, patronize their establishments or use their services. If you see a Sarasota County Commissioner thank them. We all benefit from the good will of all our unsung heroes.