Calling All Plein Air Painters to the Hermitage

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, Englewood Art Center and the Englewood Plein Air Painters invite all artists who enjoy painting outdoors to join the artist-in-residence, Michael Eade, in creating paintings of the grounds and historic Hermitage buildings on Saturday, April 30, 2011, from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. A landscape painter and watercolorist, Eade will also hold an open studio for participants to view his latest works of art.

Water color by Belgian artist Tilde Van Uytven, 2011 Hermitage Fellow
Water color by Belgian artist Tilde Van Uytven, 2011 Hermitage Fellow

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, Englewood Art Center and the Englewood Plein Air Painters invite all artists who enjoy painting outdoors to join the artist-in-residence, Michael Eade, in creating paintings of the grounds and historic Hermitage buildings on Saturday, April 30, 2011, from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. A landscape painter and watercolorist, Eade will also hold an open studio for participants to view his latest works of art.

According to Eade, “the plein air painting session will emphasize the use of painterly techniques intended to enhance interpretations of the lushness of the local flora (and maybe even the fauna) surrounding the Retreat and to portray the unique beauty of the barrier island’s landscape, water and light.”

Eade received a BA from Oregon State University and completed further studies at the Staatlichen Akademie der Bildenen Kunst, Stuttgart, focusing on egg tempera painting techniques. He continued graduate studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts focusing on film and computer animation, while concurrently assisting the American artist Louise Nevelson. This NYC resident has received many honors including a fellowship from the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, NYC; the National Academy Museum and School of the Fine Arts, NYC; and the Artists’ Fellowship Inc. Eade’s work is held in many public, corporate and private collections around the country such as the Harvard Business School, the Library of Congress Permanent Collection and commissions by HERMÈS and AT&T. Eade’s next solo exhibition will be in June 2012, at Lesley Heller Workspace, New York, NY.

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.

Author Josip Novakovich reads and discusses Fiction Writing

Writer of “Fiction Writer’s Workshop”, novels, and short stories will read from his latest work and talk about the craft of writing.

Josip Novakovich

Josip Novakovich moved from Croatia to the U.S. at the age of twenty. He has published a novel, April Fool’s Day (translated into ten languages), three story collections (Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust, Yolk, and Salvation and Other Disasters), three collections of narrative essays (e.g. Apricots from Chenobyl), and two books of practical criticism, one of which, Fiction Writer’s Workshop, was a book of the Month Selection several times. He has just completed a novel set in Russia and another collection of stories. His work was anthologized in Best American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize collection, and O. Henry Prize Stories. He has received the Whiting Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Ingram Merrill Award, and an American Book Award, and he has been a writing fellow of the New York Public Library. He has taught at the University of Cincinnati, Bard, Penn State, and now Concordia University in Montreal. In addition to being interested in the craft of writing fiction and nonfiction, and war stories and Eastern European and Balkan history and fiction, he has done research in literature written in English as a Second Language.

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

The wonder and joy of puppets comes to the Hermitage

A wonderful and unique experience is being offered by the Hermitage Artist Retreat as part of its Artist Series at the Historic Asolo Theater. On Thursday evening, March 31, award-winning puppeteer Hobey Ford will present a program with and about his puppets.

Hobey Ford and puppet friends
Hobey Ford and puppet friends

A wonderful and unique experience is being offered by the Hermitage Artist Retreat as part of its Artist Series at the Historic Asolo Theater. On Thursday evening, March 31, award-winning puppeteer Hobey Ford will present a program with and about his puppets.

Two-time winner of puppetry’s highest honor, the Union Internationale de la Marionnette Citation of Excellence, and recipient of three Jim Henson Foundation grants, Ford is known for excellence in puppetry, performance and craft. He incorporates a variety of puppetry styles into his shows, including puppets he has created himself. Hobey uses his own voice to create characters and sound effects, tell stories and sing throughout his performances. He is a Kennedy Center teaching artist as well as a toy inventor with his hit toy “Peepers Puppet,” a set of eyes worn on the hand transforming the bare hand into a puppet. Ford lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Date: Thursday, March 31, 2011
Time: 7:30pm
Price: $5 and reservations are required by calling the theater box office at 941-360-7399.

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

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

An Afternoon With Arthur Kopit

Playwright Arthur Kopit will be reading from his latest work and answering questions on Monday, February 7 at 2pm in a free program at New College’s Sainer Pavillion in the New College Campus.

Don’t miss the chance to spend an hour with celebrated American playwright Arthur Kopit. On Monday, February 7, 2011 the Hermitage Artsit Retreat , New College of Florida, and the Asolo Repertory Theater will sponsor a free program featuring the author of Chamber Music, Wings, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in th Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad, and the book to the musical, Nine. Kopit is a 3-time Tony Award nominee for Indians, Wings, and the book to the musical, Nine. Mr. Kopit will read from his latest work, and Asolo Rep producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards will moderate questions and answers following the reading.

The program will take place at 2pm at the Sainer Pavillion on the New College campus. Admission is FREE.

Theater Icon Oskar Eustis to Speak at Greenfield Prize Celebration 2011

Hermitage Artist Retreat is pleased to announce that the keynote speaker for the next Greenfield Prize Celebration will be Oskar Eustis, Tony Award-winning artistic director of The Public Theater, NYC.



Hermitage Artist Retreat is pleased to announce that the keynote speaker for the next Greenfield Prize Celebration will be Oskar Eustis, Tony Award-winning artistic director of The Public Theater, NYC. This year’s presentation of the $30,000 Greenfield Prize will be in drama and be awarded to an American playwright on Sunday, March 27, at 6:00 pm at Michael’s on East, Sarasota, FL. It has become the tradition of the Greenfield Prize Celebration that a major national arts figure give the keynote address at the event. Past speakers have been Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang and renowned American painter James Rosenquist.

“I can’t think of a better person to represent the field of drama than Oskar Eustis,” commented Bruce E. Rodgers, executive director of Hermitage Artist Retreat, which administers the prize. “Throughout his impressive career, Oskar has worked at some of the most respected regional theaters with some of the best playwrights and actors in the business. He has also been dedicated to the development of new plays as both a director and a producer. He was on our inaugural jury for the first Greenfield Prize in drama, given to Craig Lucas. The work premiered in 2010 at the Asolo Rep. Having accomplished artists such as Oskar Eustis involved with the Greenfield Prize and the Hermitage Artist Retreat is what helps us gain national respect and recognition for what we do. We couldn’t be more pleased to have Oskar back with us when we present the second Greenfield Prize in drama.”

Oskar Eustis has worked as a director, dramaturg, and artistic director for theaters around the country. From 1981 through 1986 he was resident director and dramaturg at the Eureka Theatre Company in San Francisco, and Artistic Director until 1989, when he moved to the L.A.’s Mark Taper Forum as Associate Artistic Director until 1994. Mr. Eustis then served as Artistic Director at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island, for 11 years. In 2005 he took the helm at New York’s Public Theater. Among the most famous of his produced works was the commission and world premieres of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Part I: Millennium Approaches (Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director) and Angels in America, Part II: Perestroika. In 2009, Oskar Eustis was the lead producer on the Tony award-winning revival of Hair on Broadway.

According to Eustis, “The Greenfield Prize has, in a very short time, established itself as an important badge of excellence in the American arts. I am honored to speak at the 2011 award celebration, and delighted to participate in supporting the vision and courage of American artists.”

For more information on the Greenfield Prize or to place your reservation for the March 27th event, visit the website at www.greenfieldprize.org.

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