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).

Playwright and Theater Maker Deepa Purohit Honored at 16th Annual Hermitage Greenfield Prize Celebration

The annual Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner on Sunday, April 14th honored playwright and theater maker Deepa Purohit. This was the central event of a three-day celebration, hosted by the Hermitage Artist Retreat (Andy Sandberg, Artistic Director and CEO) in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation. The gala evening was presented at Michael’s on East and featured inspiring performances from Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winning star of stage and screen Rachel Bay Jones (Dear Evan Hansen, “Young Sheldon”), accompanied by Broadway veteran Randy Redd; original songs by internationally renowned composer and performer Kavita Shah;and an appearance from past Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner Angélica Negrón.The annual gala raised more than $300,000 in support of the Hermitage’s mission, in addition to the Greenfield Foundation’s increased annual gift of $175,000. The festive evening was co-chaired by Pauline Wamsler and Stephanie & Gene Jones. Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg served as master of ceremonies and announced that Asolo Repertory Theatre will be collaborating with the Hermitage as the presenting partner for the first public presentation of Deepa Purohit’s commission in Sarasota in 2026. As this year’s HGP recipient, Purohit receives a $35,000 commission, along with an extended residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat.

The Hermitage Greenfield Prize (HGP) Dinner kicked off with an energetic performance from Megha Vaid and the Indian Association of Manasota.This was followed by a welcome video from Tony Award-winning actor, director, writer, and 2024 HGP juror Ruben Santiago-Hudson. “This whole process was a wonderful confirmation that the theater is in great hands and the future is indeed very bright,” said Santiago-Hudson. “That the Hermitage is here to support these exceptional artists is truly a gift.” Andy Sandberg then took the stage as master of ceremonies and spoke about the legacy and impact of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize before introducing his longtime friend and the evening’s headliner – Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winning star of stage and screen Rachel Bay Jones. Jones won over the audience with a medley of “Something Beautiful” by Ben Rector and “If I Had a Boat” by Lyle Lovett, accompanied by her long-time collaborator and Broadway veteran Randy Redd. She spoke about how inspiring the Hermitage bas been for her and Redd before earning a standing ovation with her powerful and emotional rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns.”

The event carried on with a glimpse into the work from playwright and theater artist Deepa Purohit, featuring tributes from this year’s three HGP jurors Rajiv JosephDiane Paulus, and Ruben Santiago-Hudson. The evening continued with remarks from 2022 HGP recipient Angélica Negrón, who spoke about her experience at the Hermitage and offered insight into her world premiere commission. This was followed by a special appearance from internationally renowned singer and Hermitage Fellow Kavita Shah, who charmed the audience with performances of her original song “Joia” from her new album Cape Verdean Blues and “Chaki Ben,” a lullaby sung in her mother’s native language of Gujarati and dedicated to Purohit. 

Following Shah’s performance, Sandberg presented Deepa Purohit with this year’s Hermitage Greenfield Prize. “Thank you for being supporters of arts in America,” said Purohit in her acceptance speech. “It’s what we desperately need right now. This gift of time, space, and resources from the Hermitage and the Greenfield Foundation are the essentials that every artist needs to create work that comes from the soul – to create art that can weave dreams and visions into existence and then send it out into the world.” 

To close out this memorable night after an enthusiastic paddle raise, Rachel Bay Jones returned to the stage. “There’s something special about the Hermitage,” said Jones. “There are so few hours in the day that can be devoted to developing something new, often starting as just an idea or a desire. The Hermitage gives artists breath, space, and time… and something magical happens.” She went on to earn a second standing ovation for her showstopping rendition of Sondheim’s “Move On.” 

“This was truly remarkable evening and a joyful celebration of this incredible prize,” said Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “It was an honor to celebrate Deepa Purohit, and we can’t wait to introduce her brand-new play to our Gulf Coast community. It was thrilling as well to hear unforgettable live performances from Rachel Bay Jones and original songs by Kavita Shah, along with inspiring remarks from Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Angélica Negrón, and more. We are so grateful to the Greenfield Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and all our sponsors and donors for their belief in our mission and the support of new work.”

The annual Prize Dinner anchored a series of events celebrating the impact and legacy of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize. The weekend commenced with two Saturday events on the Hermitage campus. The first was an in-depth conversation with 2024 HGP Winner Deepa Purohit, offering an introduction to her work and career, as well as insight into her plans for this new commission. Later that day, the Hermitage hosted an inspiring and enlightening sunset program with Purohit, alongside two fellow South Asian Hermitage artists and educators, Kavita Shah and Nandita Shenoy. This panel conversation, “South Asian Artists in America,” was moderated by Andy Sandberg and highlighted the rich diversity of South Asian culture and lived experience emanating from this region of the world. 

The Hermitage Greenfield Prize Celebration culminated on Monday, April 15th with Angélica Negrónpresenting Azul Naranja Salado, the original composition resulting from her 2022 Hermitage Greenfield Prize. This world premiere concert set a new standard for embracing the Florida weather as part of the experience; this contemporary classical composition was performed live outdoors on the Hermitage Beach on Manasota Key. Negrón’s music was carefully synchronized with the setting sun for a truly unique symphonic experience, and the piece was masterfully conducted by George Nickson, Co-Artistic Director of the evening’s presenting partner ensembleNewSRQ. Blending a sixteen-piece string ensemble with one of the season’s most beautiful sunsets led to a moving and awe-inspiring performance unlike any other. Angélica Negrón delivered on her hope that this site-specific work would serve as a reminder to audiences to seek out and surrender to moments of inspiration.

The Hermitage Greenfield Prize is presented in partnership with the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation, who launched this initiative with the Hermitage in 2009. The Community Foundation of Sarasota County served as the lead community sponsor for this year’s festivities.

Deepa Purohit was selected by a distinguished jury that included Obie Award-winning playwright and Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph, Tony Award-winning Artistic Director of A.R.T. Diane Paulus, and Tony Award-winning actor, director, and writer Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Centering the stories of South Asian women, Purohit plans through this commission to explore a question we all must encounter in our lives, but often do not speak about publicly. In the face of an immense, multi-billion dollar medical and elder care industry, Deepa Purohit will examine what she believes to be one of the most complicated and meaningful issues of our time – how to die with dignity. 

Past winners of this distinguished honor include Rennie Harris, choreographer (2023), Sandy Rodriguez, visual artist (2023), Angélica Negrón, composer (2022); Aleshea Harris, playwright (2021); Helga Davis, composer (2019); Martyna Majok, playwright (2018); David Burnett, photojournalist (2017); Coco Fusco, visual artist (2016); Bobby Previte, composer (2015); Nilo Cruz, playwright (2014); Trenton Doyle Hancock, visual artist (2013); Vijay Iyer, composer (2012); John Guare, playwright (2011); Sanford Biggers, visual artist (2010); Craig Lucas, playwright (2009); and Eve Beglarian, composer (2009).

Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award Winner  Rachel Bay Jones to Perform at 2024 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner  

The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Andy Sandberg, Artistic Director and CEO) today announced Tony Award winner Rachel Bay Jones and returning Hermitage Fellow Kavita Shah will perform at the 2024 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner on Sunday, April 14th.

Rachel Bay Jones is best known for originating the role of Heidi Hansen in the original Broadway cast of Dear Evan Hansen, for which she won a Tony Award, Emmy Award, Grammy Award, and Lucille Lortel Award. Acclaimed for her versatile ability to bring comedic, dramatic, and character roles to life, Jones has garnered praise for her performances in Stephen Sondheim’s Here We Are, Diane Paulus’ Tony Award-winning revivals of Pippin and Hair, and Michael John LaChiusa’s First Daughter Suite and Hello Again. She received rave reviews for her performance as Diana in The Kennedy Center’s revival of Next to Normal, directed by Michael Grief. Jones can be seen on television in major roles on Young SheldonThe Good DoctorModern Family, and more. On film, she starred opposite Julia Roberts in Ben Is Back, opposite John Leguizamo in Critical Thinking, and in Bob Trevino Likes It, which recently premiered at SXSW. Jones will be accompanied by her longtime collaborator and Broadway veteran Randy Redd.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Rachel Bay Jones to perform at our 16th annual Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner,” says Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “I first met Rachel fifteen years ago when we worked together on Hair, and she is a truly magical performer. A gifted actor, musician, and creator, Rachel embodies the spirit of the Hermitage, and we are excited that she will be a part of this year’s HGP Dinner: A Celebration of Theater.”

The special evening will also feature a musical performance from returning Hermitage Fellow Kavita Shah, an internationally renowned composer and performer who has been has been praised by NPR for her “amazing dexterity with musical languages.” Shah’s musical talents have taken her to concert halls and communities around the world.

The event Co-Chairs are Pauline Wamsler and Stephanie & Gene Jones. The Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner is presented by the Hermitage Artist Retreat in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation, with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County serving as the lead community sponsor. Additional sponsors include Gulf Coast Community Foundation, The Herald Tribune, and Sarasota Magazine. A full list of this year’s sponsors, benefactors, and partners can be found at HermitageArtistRetreat.org/Hermitage-Greenfield-Prize-Dinner-2024.

Sponsorship levels for this Hermitage spring benefit range from $1,250 to $10,000. Tables and sponsorships may be purchased by contacting Hermitage Development Director Amy Wallace at (941) 475-2098, Ext. 2. The event has extremely limited capacity remaining. 

Full Line-Up of Events for 2024 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Celebration 

The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Sarasota County, Florida), in collaboration with the Greenfield Foundation, presents the 16th year of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Celebration. The events span from Saturday, April 13th through Monday, April 15th, including the annual Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner in Sarasota on Sunday, April 14th. The celebration culminates on Monday, April15th with the world premiere of 2022 Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner Angélica Negrón’soriginal composition “Azul Naranja Salado,” presentedin partnership with ensembleNewSRQ on the the Hermitage Beach as the sun sets into the Gulf on Manasota Key.

The Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner on Sunday, April 14th celebrates the 2024 recipient of the Prize, playwright and theater maker Deepa Purohit. The popular event also serves as the Hermitage Artist Retreat’s annual Spring Gala, which is co-chaired this year by Pauline Wamsler and Stephanie & Gene Jones. The event will feature an elegant dinner at Michael’s On East and memorable performances. Performers and guest artists for the HGP Dinner will be announced at a later date. For information regarding tables and sponsorships, visit HermitageArtistRetreat.org, or contact Development Director Amy Wallace: Development@HermitageArtistRetreat.org, (941) 475-2098, Ext. 2. 

This year’s HGP events begin on Saturday, April 13th at 3pm with “A Conversation with 2024 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner Deepa Purohit,” on the Hermitage Great Lawn, presented in partnership with Asolo Repertory Theatre. Purohit’s work was featured last year in the Atlantic Theater Company’s season with the Off-Broadway debut of her play Elyria, earning a 2023 Drama League Award nomination for Outstanding Production of a Play. She co-founded and ran Rising Circle Theater Collective, a theater company centered on the stories of people of color. Deepa was recently announced as the Director of New Works at People’s Light Theatre. In this conversation, Purohit will discuss her past theatrical works andshare a deep dive perspective into the personal and profound question at the heart of her upcoming Hermitage commission: how does one die with dignity? 

Later that same day at 6:30pm on Saturday, April 13th, the conversation continues on the Hermitage Beach on Manasota Key with “Hermitage Artists & Thinkers: South Asian Artists in America,” featuring playwright 2024 HGP winner Deepa Purohit, Hermitage Fellow and musician-performer Kavita Shah, and Hermitage Fellow and playwright-actor Nandita Shenoy. This panel discussion, moderated by Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg, will explore the impact of representation and the rich diversity of South Asian culture reflected in the arts in America and beyond. 

Both hour-long Saturday programs honor the distinguished recipient of this year’s award. In addition to a $35,000 commission, Purohit will receive six weeks of residency time as a Hermitage Fellow to develop her new play, as well as the first public presentation of her original work in Sarasota in 2026.

On Sunday, April 15th, the weekend continues with a gala dinner at Michael’s On East in Sarasota. Previous HGP Dinners have featured surprise appearances from Tony Award Winner Gavin Creel, Lucille Lortel Award Winner Leslie Rodriguez-Kritzer, internationally acclaimed visual artist Sanford Biggers, and more. 

The Hermitage Greenfield Prize Celebration concludes on April 15th with the world premiere of “Azul Naranja Salado:” Angélica Negrón’s Hermitage Greenfield Prize Premiere, bringing the commission full circle from her award in 2022. The celebration begins with newly awarded 2024 HGP winner Deepa Purohitand concludes with the first public presentation of Angélica Negrón’s 2022 HGP commission. 

“One of the most exciting elements of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize is bringing multiple winners from different disciplines to Sarasota in three exciting days of events and programming,” said Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “It is thrilling to be recognizing the unique talents of Deepa Purohit in the discipline of theater at the same time we are inviting audiences to experience a brand new world premiere commission from composer Angélica Negrón.

Negrón’s composition will be timed with the setting sun on the Hermitage Beach – starting at 7pm on Monday, April 15th. The piece will feature slowly evolving musical textures, shifting patterns, natural sounds, and changes in scale and dimension that play with the unfolding gradations of light and color on the surrounding land, water, and sky. Composed for a unique ensemble of low strings, harps, percussion, and electronics, Negrón hopes this site-specific work will serve as a gentle reminder to the audience to seek out and surrender to moments of inspiration. This program is presented in partnership with enSRQ.

“We are proud to be partnering once again with the Hermitage for this ambitious world premiere,” said enSRQ Co-Artistic Directors George Nickson and Samantha Bennett. “We are honored to have presented the work of many extraordinary Hermitage artists in the past, and we know it will always lead to something truly exciting. Angélica is one of the most innovative composers of her generation, and this promises to be a memorable evening.”

Both of the talks on Saturday, April 13th – like all Hermitage community programs – are free and open to the members of the public (with a $5/person registration fee). Registration is required.

Sponsorships and tables for the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner on April 14th ($1,250 to $10,000) and tickets to Angélica Negrón’s premiere on April 15th ($25/person) must be purchased in advance. More details for these events can also be found at HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

The Hermitage Greenfield Prize – now celebrating its 16th year and rotating annually between theater, music, and visual art — includes a six-week Hermitage residency and a $35,000 commission to create and develop a new work, which culminates with a public presentation in Sarasota. The Hermitage Greenfield Prize Celebration is presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation, with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County serving as Lead Community Sponsor. 

Two Exhibitions of Hermitage Artists to Premiere at Sarasota Art Museum

The Hermitage Artist Retreat is pleased to announce two exhibitions opening at the Sarasota Art Museum in the spring of 2024, featuring a collective twelve Hermitage Fellows, including two past winners of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize. Impact: Contemporary Artists at the Hermitage Artist Retreat (March 10 to July 7, 2024) is curated by former Hermitage National Curatorial Council member Dan Cameron and features the work of ten award-winning Hermitage visual artistsThe Truth of the Night Sky (April 21 to September 29, 2024) is the result of a collaboration that sparked on Manasota Key between two celebrated Hermitage Fellows – visual artist Anne Patterson and composer Patrick Harlin. These two Hermitage artist exhibitions will be running concurrently at SAM from April 21 through July 7, 2024.

Impact: Contemporary Artists at the Hermitage Artist Retreat opens on March 10, 2024, and will be on display to the public through July 7, 2024. This exhibition will feature work from ten nationally and internationally renowned Hermitage alumni artists: Diana Al-HadidSanford Biggers (2010 Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner), Chitra GaneshTodd GrayTrenton Doyle Hancock (2013 Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner), Michelle LopezTed Riederer, the late John SimsKukuli Velarde, and William Villalongo. A key factor these ten artists have in common is that over the past two decades, each has been a Fellow at the Hermitage Artist Retreat on Manasota Key — a unique experience that contributed to each of their creative processes in a variety of ways. Overseen by guest curator and former Hermitage Curatorial Council member Dan Cameron, Impact represents the first major exhibition in collaboration between the Hermitage and Sarasota Art Museum. The exhibit will feature work across a range of media, including sculpture, painting, installation, video, photography, printmaking, ceramics, textiles, and social practice. Sanford Biggers, a distinguished Hermitage alumnus and internationally renowned artist, is also now a member of the Hermitage’s National Curatorial Council and was a featured guest speaker at the 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner.

“Being the inaugural recipient of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize in Visual Art could not have come at a more crucial moment in my artistic journey,” said Biggers. “The Codex and Code Switch projects that I’m so proud of – and still exploring – were born because of my time at the Hermitage providing me the space to experiment and forge connections while I was there. I’m very glad to now be on the National Curatorial Council. I have been the beneficiary of such kindness and I take the opportunity to pay it forward very seriously and introduce new artists to this remarkable place.”

“We are excited to be partnering with Sarasota Art Museum to share the work of these ten extraordinary Hermitage artists with our community,” said Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “These are some of the leading contemporary artists of this generation, and we are proud that the Hermitage has played a role in shaping and supporting each of their unique practices. Now, thanks to this world-class exhibition at Sarasota Art Museum, the Gulf Coast will get to experience more fully realized work from these visionary creators – including the work of past Hermitage Greenfield Prize winners Sanford Biggers and Trenton Doyle Hancock – under the expert curatorial hand of Dan Cameron. These ten artists present creative ideas that trace their roots and inspiration back to their time here on Manasota Key.”

“The opportunity to work on a curatorial project that brings a vital part of the Hermitage Artist Retreat’s story to the Sarasota Art Museum, while giving me the chance to collaborate with some incredible Hermitage Fellows in the field of visual art is pretty much a dream come true,” added Dan Cameron.

The Truth of the Night Sky, a Hermitage collaboration, is the second exhibition of Hermitage alumni premiering at Sarasota Art Museum this spring – opening on April 21, 2024 and remaining on display through September 29, 2024. After meeting while in residence at the Hermitage Artist Retreat ten years ago and building on their friendship and collaboration, multidisciplinary visual artist Anne Patterson and composer / soundscape artist Patrick Harlin have joined forces to develop this one-of-a-kind immersive experience. Patterson, who is familiar to Sarasota audiences from previous exhibitions at The Ringling Museum and whose “Divine Pathways” is currently represented in New York at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, is widely celebrated for her grand environments that immerse the viewer and surround the senses. A distinguished Hermitage alumna with an impressive background in immersive exhibitions and theatrical design, Anne Patterson has frequently collaborated with musicians, including fellow Hermitage alum Patrick Harlin, to design mesmerizing environments. For this collaborative project, Patterson and Harlin are expanding upon Harlin’s original composition Earthrise (2022), an orchestral piece inspired by the eponymous photograph (1968) taken by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders on humanity’s first-ever trip around the moon. The original composition by Patrick Harlin, who was also the very first recipient of the Hermitage Prize in Composition at the Aspen Music Festival, will play as visitors pass through the galleries. The exhibition will feature several works by Patterson, as well as a suspended tree and her signature satin ribbon installation work. With each step, visitors will travel imaginatively through space and time. Of their time at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Patterson and Harlin are fond of saying that their experience was invaluable to their craft and their collaboration, allowing them to achieve new heights, find a unique environmental inspiration, and explore new possibilities in their work.

“I am thrilled for the opportunity to present a new body of work on Florida’s Gulf Coast through this inspired collaboration between the Hermitage and Sarasota Art Museum,” said Anne Patterson. “Receiving both space to create and space to present from these two institutions is indeed a wonderful gift.” 

Located on Manasota Key, many artists who are invited to make work on the Hermitage’s historic campus note the immediacy of the vibrant night sky around them, augmented by the crashing waves only steps away to create a primal and inspirational connection to nature. The Truth of the Night Sky conveys the sense of collectiveawe and wonderment we may feel under the dome of the stars or in the vibrating air of a concert hall, and it thus channels a message of hope and unity. 

“The Hermitage is an amazing place to create,” said Patrick Harlin. “Winning the Hermitage Prize in Composition and meeting Anne has sparked a number of collaborations which would not have occurred otherwise. Every night we would talk about how nature inspires our work and  what we were making. It’s  amazing to realize, years later, how much new work is created at the Hermitage, ours and others, that is now out in the world.” 

“Anne Patterson and Patrick Harlin are both extraordinary talents whose passion for collaboration and ‘big’ ideas embody the mission and spirit of the Hermitage,” said Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “It is thrilling to be able to see a creative partnership take shape, and then to witness these two brilliant minds melding as their concepts evolve from the earliest stages to a fully realized immersive exhibition. We’re excited for Sarasota audiences to experience Anne and Patrick’s vision coming to life at the Sarasota Art Museum, and it’s particularly exciting that audiences can experience this alongside SAM’s concurrent exhibit, “Impact: Contemporary Artists at the Hermitage Artist Retreat.”

Anne Patterson and Patrick Harlin have also been collaborating separately on a new oratorio based on Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, alongside two additional Hermitage alumni who they met during their residency – Grammy Award-winning contemporary classical composer Christopher Theofanidis and celebrated poet Melissa Studdard.

The Hermitage frequently offers Sarasota audiences a first glimpse into live performances from artists working in music, theater, dance, and more. This collaboration with Sarasota Art Museum will provide Gulf Coast audiences the opportunity to experience more fully realized works of visual art created by acclaimed Hermitage artists.

“The Hermitage has nurtured and supported hundreds of artists since its inception,” said Sarasota Art Museum Executive Director Virginia Shearer. “It is an honor to highlight the important role the Hermitage plays in advancing creative practice and building a rich network of artists who continue to impact and inform the cultural life of our city, and beyond.”

“We are honored to be partnering with Sarasota Art Museum as they showcase and celebrate the work of so many extraordinary Hermitage artists,” said Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “While all Hermitage Fellows offer our community a ‘sneak peek’ into their work and creative process, these world-class exhibitions will offer Sarasota audiences a more complete look at the expansive talent of these diverse and accomplished visual artists, whose creations often take years to complete.” 

Playwright Deepa Purohit Receives 2024 Hermitage Greenfield Prize

The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Andy Sandberg, Artistic Director and CEO), in collaboration with the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation, has selected playwright Deepa Purohit as the winner of the 2024 Hermitage Greenfield Prize (HGP). Purohit is an award-winning playwright who made her Off-Broadway debut in the Atlantic Theater Company’s 2022-23 season with the world premiere of her play Elyria (2023 Drama League Award Nominee for Outstanding Production of a Play, 2017 NEA Commission, and 2019 Jerome Foundation support with Ma-Yi Theater Company).

The Hermitage Greenfield Prize is awarded annually, rotating between the fields of theater, music, and visual art. Purohit will receive a six-week Hermitage Fellowship and a $35,000 commission to create a new work of theater, which will have its first public presentation in Sarasota in 2026. This year, the Greenfield Foundation and the Hermitage decided to increase the cash component of the award from $30,000 to $35,000. Purohit will be the first recipient of the HGP to receive this newly increased commission prize.

Purohit was selected by a distinguished jury that included Obie Award-winning playwright Rajiv Joseph, Tony Award winner and Artistic Director of A.R.T. Diane Paulus, and Tony Award-winning actor, director, and writer Ruben Santiago-Hudson.Past winners of this distinguished honor in the discipline of theater include Aleshea Harris (2021), Martyna Majok (2018), Nilo Cruz (2014), John Guare (2011), and Craig Lucas (2009). 

“Amidst a truly extraordinary field of finalists, this remarkable jury faced an incredibly difficult task to select a single recipient. Deepa Purohit emerged as an ambitious and original theatrical voice who impressed the jury with her inspiring vision,” says Hermitage Artistic Director Andy Sandberg. “Her dedication to innovative storytelling embodies the mission of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize — to bring into the world works of art that have a significant impact on the broad as well as the artistic culture of our society. We thank our distinguished jurors for their dedication, and we congratulate all four brilliant finalists, whom we look forward to welcoming at the Hermitage. We’re excited to host Deepa in Florida for the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner in April, and subsequently as a Hermitage Fellow in anticipation of the first public presentation of her new commission in Sarasota in 2026.” 

Deepa Purohit was featured last year in the Atlantic Theater Company’s season with the Off-Broadway production of her play Elyria, earning Purohit a 2023 Drama League Award nomination for Outstanding Production of a Play. She co-founded and ran Rising Circle Theater Collective, a theater company centered on the stories of people of color. Deepa was recently announced as the Director of New Works at People’s Light Theatre. Based in Brooklyn, she studied acting at the Harlem Theatre Company in New York City. Her acting credits include Sex and The City 2 and The Sopranos. Prior to focusing on playwriting, Purohit had a career in education as a Baltimore City middle school teacher, and she is an alumna of the Teach For America program.

Hermitage Greenfield Prize recipients and finalists are nominated and selected by a jury of nationally recognized arts leaders. The 2024 jury in theater included Rajiv Joseph, an Obie Award-winning playwright, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and member of the Hermitage National Curatorial Council; Diane Paulus, a Tony Award-winning Broadway director and Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University; and Ruben Santiago-Hudson, a Tony and Obie Award-winning actor, director, and writer.

Three finalists for the 2024 Hermitage Greenfield Prize include Zora Howard, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, writer, performer, and Hermitage alumna whose plays include StewHang TimeThe Master’s ToolsBust, and Good FaithDaniel & Patrick Lazour, brothers and musical theater writers who created the original musical We Live in Cairoand Britton Smith, a writer, performer, and co-founder of the Tony Award-winning organization Broadway Advocacy Coalition. All three will receive a Hermitage residency, in addition to a prize of $1,000.

“Deepa Purohit had a brilliant play at the Atlantic last season, and she has shown that she has the ambition and the talent as a playwright to be a real serious voice in the theater,” says Rajiv Joseph. “Deepa is definitely someone I look forward to seeing more from.”

“The experience of being a juror for the Hermitage Greenfield Prize was deeply inspiring, as we heard very engaging and innovative proposals from an incredible roster of finalists,” says Diane Paulus. “The winner, Deepa Purohit, is an artist whom I know will make a major contribution to the theater world, and through her project, to our understanding of the existential questions of how we live and die with dignity and care for our elders.” 

“What an honor to be a member of the jury for the 2024 Hermitage Greenfield Prize,” added Ruben Santiago-Hudson. “Listening to the ideas bursting from the minds and hearts of four of the most dynamic theater artists of our time was a revelation. This whole process was a wonderful confirmation that our theater is in great hands and the future is indeed very bright. That the Hermitage is here to support these exceptional artists is truly a gift. It gives me the greatest pleasure to say congratulations to all four finalists – Zora Howard, Daniel & Patrick Lazour, Deepa Purohit, and Britton Smith – all champions of this extraordinary life that has chosen us called the theater. We look forward to witnessing their fierce, brave, and beautiful stories unfold.”

“I’m humbled and deeply grateful to receive the incredibly generous Hermitage Greenfield Prize at this moment in my life. I’m honestly blown away,” says Purohit. “The support of the prize and the residency will provide me with the much needed space, time, and resources that I’ve been craving to not only create a new work, but also to grow and experiment in my craft in ways I hope will contribute to American theater and the cultural fabric of our society.”

Centering the stories of South Asian women, Purohit plans to explore a question we all must encounter in our lives — how does one die with dignity in a society that values a sophisticated medical system centered on a key tenet: to prolong life? Purohit aims to bring all her skills as a playwright and theatrical polymath to this new commission, blending various forms of theatrical expression including multimedia, installation performance art, and immersive theatrical happenings. Growing up with a father who immigrated to Ohio and built his career as a surgeon in the American medical system, and a mother who spent many years at the end of her lift navigating the complex system as a patient, Purohit brings deep personal connections and insight to the story. In the face of an immense, multi-billion dollar medical and elder care industry, Purohit explores what she believes to be one of the most complicated and meaningful issues of our time — how to die with dignity. 

Purohit will be celebrated at the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner on Sunday, April 14 at 6pm at Michael’s On East in Sarasota, Florida. Capacity will be limited, so early reservations are strongly recommended. 

In addition to the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner on April 14, the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Celebration will include programs and talks with current and past HGP winners from April 12 to 15, 2024. These events will be presented on the Hermitage Beach and throughout Sarasota County with some also available online. Additional details about these programs will be announced at a later date. The Hermitage Greenfield Prize Celebration is presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation, with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County serving as the Lead Community Sponsor.

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.

Visual Artist Sandy Rodriguez and Dancer-Choreographer Rennie Harris Honored at the 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner

The annual Hermitage Greenfield Prize (HGP) Dinner on Sunday, April 16th honored dancer-choreographer Lorenzo ‘Rennie’ Harris and visual artist Sandy Rodriguez. This was the culmination of a weekend-long celebration of events, hosted by the Hermitage Artist Retreat (Andy Sandberg, Artistic Director and CEO) in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation. To commemorate the 20th anniversary season of the Hermitage and the milestone 15th year of this distinguished national honor, the Hermitage presented two awards – one in the discipline of visual art and a special award in the field of dance and choreography. The evening of celebration was presented outdoors by the Ringling Museum’s Ca’ d’Zan and featured inspiring performances from Broadway star and Lucille Lortel Award winner Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer (Beetlejuice), hip-hop dancer Phil S. Cuttino Jr. (Rennie Harris Puremovement), violinist Samantha Bennett (EnsembleNEWSRQ), and special appearances from past Hermitage Greenfield Prize winners Sanford Biggers (2010, visual art), and Angélica Negrón (2022, music). The annual gala raised more than $240,000 in support of the Hermitage’s mission in addition to the Greenfield Foundation’s ongoing annual gift of $150,000. The festive evening was chaired by Sherry and Tom Koski, with honorary co-chairs Steven High (The Ringling Museum), Nate Jacobs (Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe), Virginia Shearer (Sarasota Art Museum)and Iain Webb (Sarasota Ballet). Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg served as master of ceremonies and announced that the Ringling Museum will be collaborating with the Hermitage as the presenting partner for the premieres of both Sandy Rodriguez and Rennie Harris’ commissions in Sarasota in 2025. Harris and Rodriguez each receive a $30,000 commission, along with an extended residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat.

The evening opened with a performance from Philadelphia-based dancer Phil S. Cuttino Jr., a core member of Rennie Harris Puremovement, who kicked off the event with a tribute to hip-hop and street dance. Sandberg took the stage as master of ceremonies, and introduced a video documenting fifteen years of Hermitage Greenfield Prize recipients, jurors, and presenting partners. Broadway star, Lucille Lortel Award winner, and Drama Desk Award nominee Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer enthralled the crowd with a performance of Stephen Sondheim’s “Finishing the Hat,” from the musical Sunday in the Park with George, as a tribute to the creation of art.The program continued with Anne Patterson, one of this year’s visual art jurors and a Hermitage alumna artist, introducing a video of Sandy Rodriguez’s work and process. Two of this year’s dance jurors, Michael Novak (Artistic Director of Paul Taylor Dance Company)and Charmaine Warren (Founder and Artistic Director of “Black Dance Stories”) introduced selections of Rennie Harris’ extraordinary body of work. 2022 HGP recipient Angélica Negrón thanked the Hermitage for this opportunity and introduced her original violin and electronic music piece, “A través del manto luminoso.” The piece was performed by ensembleNewSRQ’s Samantha Bennett; enSRQ will be serving as the presenting partner for Negrón’s HGP commission, which will have its premiere in April of 2024 (further details to be announced).The evening continued with a surprise appearance from internationally renowned artist Sanford Biggers, the first-ever Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner in visual art (2010) and a current member of the Hermitage Curatorial Council. Biggers shared what the Hermitage and this award meant to his artistic practice, how the impact of this opportunity shaped the trajectory of his impressive career, and how important it is to pay that forward. To close out the event and celebrate the perfect weather, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer returned to the stage for a showstopping rendition of “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”

“This was an extraordinary evening and a joyful celebration of this truly one-of-a-kind prize,” said Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “It was an honor to celebrate Rennie Harris, Sandy Rodriguez, and their immeasurable talents, and we can’t wait to introduce their new works of art and dance to our Gulf Coast community. It was thrilling as well to hear live performances from Leslie Kritzer and an original piece by Angélica Negrón on the beautiful grounds of the Ringling Museum, along with inspiring remarks from the one and only Sanford Biggers. We are so grateful to the Greenfield Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and all of our sponsors and donors for their belief in our mission and the support of new work.”

The Hermitage Greenfield Prize is presented in partnership with the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation, who launched this initiative with the Hermitage in 2009. The Community Foundation of Sarasota County served as the lead community sponsor for this year’s festivities.

Sandy Rodriguez plans to use her commission to create a site-specific panoramic exhibition – the centerpiece of which will be a new large-scale map that depicts the southeastern topography and coastline marked by stories of resistance from the colonial period to the present. Created with hand-processed local mineral pigment watercolors on amate paper with an accompanying audio installation, the effect will be reminiscent of a 19th-century style panorama in the round. This is a further exploration of a series of exhibitions for which she has been celebrated, which maps the ongoing cycles of violence on communities of color by blending historical and recent events; this will be her first in this region. 

Rennie Harris’ intended commission will focus on a new dance piece titled “Losing My Religion,” a personal reflection on his own journey that weaves in thoughts on the world’s collective dilemmas. Harris is known for challenging what has come to be expected of street dance and hip-hop culture and the degenerative social norms and beliefs that ground the struggles of our time. As part of the work, he plans to incorporate a reimagining of his renowned solo “Endangered Species,” an autobiographical work recounting his experience of being chased and shot down in Kingston, Jamaica while touring as a U.S. ambassador for President Reagan’s ‘American Embassy Tour.’ The solo’s inclusion in the work completes a story of systemic racism and revolt, shifting away from what was to what is and what can be.

Angélica Negrón’s commission seeks to engage the senses and encourage listeners to resist distractions with a composed work timed with the setting sun and inspired partly by the sun’s low-frequency sounds as captured by scientists. Her composition of strings and electronic music will feature slowly evolving musical textures, shifting patterns, natural sounds, and changes in scale and dimension that play with the unfolding gradations of light and color on the surrounding land, water, and sky – serving as a gentle reminder to surrender to moments of inspiration. 

Full Line-Up of Events for 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Weekend, April 14-16

The Hermitage Artist Retreat in collaboration with the Greenfield Foundation, presents the 15th year of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Weekend, April 14-16, 2023, culminating with the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner on Sunday, April 16. This event – celebrating 2023 HGP winners Lorenzo ‘Rennie’ Harris (Dance & Choreography) and Sandy Rodriguez (Visual Art) – will also feature musical performances, including a selection from last year’s HGP recipient Angélica NegrónAdditional performers and guests will be announced at a later date. Tom and Sherry Koski serve as Co-Chairs for this year’s gala dinner, with Honorary Co-Chairs Steven High (Executive Director, The Ringling Museum of Art), Nate Jacobs (Founding Artistic Director, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe), Virginia Shearer (Executive Director, Sarasota Art Museum), and Iain Webb (Director, Sarasota Ballet).

This year’s weekend of events begins on Friday, April 14th at 5:30pm at the Asolo’s Cook Theater in the FSU Center for Performing Arts with “Aleshea Harris Presents,” featuring newly commissioned work from playwright, theater maker, and 2021 Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner Aleshea Harris. Her critically acclaimed plays include Is God Is, What to Send Up When It Goes Down, On Sugarland, and Brother, Brother. Described by The New York Times as “a rarefied theatrical intelligence,” Harris’ work seeks to honor the tragedies of the past and present while allowing for a potential hope to come. 

On Saturday, April 15th, the Hermitage presents two events on its Manasota Key campus honoring the distinguished recipients of this year’s prize. Both artists will receive six weeks of residency time as Hermitage Fellows to develop their projects, as well as a $30,000 prize to support the work. “Sandy Rodriguez: Putting Sarasota on the Map,” begins at 2pm in the Hermitage Palm House (indoors) and showcases the work of this year’s visual art recipient, Sandy Rodriguez. She will be joined by two jurors from this year’s selection process, renowned multidisciplinary artist and Hermitage alumna Anne Patterson and Creative Capital President Christine Kuan, Rodriguez will show examples of her work which often use topographical representations to merge societal issues past and present and discuss her process, including using hand-processed, locally sourced materials for pigments. 

The celebration continues on the Hermitage Beach at 6pm with “Rennie HarrisStreet Dance Pioneer,” a conversation with the first-ever Hermitage Greenfield Prize recipient in dance and choreography, Lorenzo ‘Rennie’ Harris, alongside jurors Joseph V. Melillo (Executive Director Emeritus, Brooklyn Academy of Music) and Charmaine Warren (founder of “Black Dance Stories”). Melillo has been a longtime friend of the Hermitage and was the first member of the Hermitage’s esteemed National Curatorial Council, and Warren is a celebrated dance writer and historian. Rennie Harris has dedicated his life and his company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, to preserving and celebrating hip-hop culture through workshops, demonstrations, and public performances and has revolutionized the relationship of this quintessentially American art form’s relationship to the broader dance community in the process.

With the exception of the Hermitage Greenfield Dinner on April 16th, the events on April 14th and 15th – like all Hermitage community programs – are free and open to the members of the public (with a $5/person registration fee). Registration is required for all events. 

Hermitage Awards Two $30,000 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Commissions

The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Andy Sandberg, Artistic Director and CEO), in collaboration with the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation, has selected two recipients for the 2023 Hermitage Greenfield Prize (HGP), one in the discipline of visual art and one in the field of dance and choreography. The prize is awarded annually, rotating between the fields of music, theater, and visual art. This year’s recipient in visual art is Sandy Rodriguez. Raised on the US-Mexico border, Rodriguez creates poignant landscapes that weave together history, social memory, contemporary politics, and cultural production.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary season of the Hermitage and the 15-year legacy of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize, the Hermitage and the Greenfield Foundation decided to present a second award in the discipline of dance and choreography. This is the first time the HGP is recognizing dance, with a special prize going to Lorenzo ‘Rennie’ Harris. Harris has been a pioneer in the street dance movement since founding Rennie Harris Puremovement in the early ‘90s, bringing authentic hip-hop experiences to the dance concert stage and educational spaces around the world.

Harris and Rodriguez will each receive a six-week Hermitage Fellowship and a $30,000 commission to create a new work in their respective fields, which will have their first public presentations in Sarasota County in 2025. 

“Amidst a truly extraordinary field of finalists for both dance and visual art, Rennie Harris and Sandy Rodriguez are both groundbreaking generative artists who impressed the respective juries with their compelling and inspiring proposals,” says Hermitage Artistic Director Andy Sandberg. “Their dedication to their craft embodies the mission of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize — to bring into the world works of art that have a significant impact on the broad as well as the artistic culture of our society. We thank our distinguished jurors for their passion and dedication, and we congratulate all of our brilliant finalists, whom we look forward to welcoming at the Hermitage. We look forward to welcoming Rennie and Sandy to Florida for the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner in April, and subsequently hosting them as Hermitage Fellows and sharing the first public presentations of their new commissions in Sarasota in 2025.” The Hermitage’s presenting partners for each of their works will be announced at a later date.

Lorenzo ‘Rennie’ Harris was born and raised in an African American community in North Philadelphia. In 1992, Harris founded Rennie Harris Puremovement, a street dance theater company dedicated to preserving and disseminating hip-hop culture through workshops, classes, hip-hop history lecture demonstrations, long-term residencies, mentoring programs, and public performances. Harris founded his company based on the belief that hip-hop is the most important original expression of a new generation. His company has toured internationally performing such original works as “Rome and Jules,” a reimagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (2001 ‘Bessie’ award in choreography); “Lazarus” as the first choreographer in residence for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2018; and “Lifted: A Gospel House Musical,” a New York Times Critics’ Pick when it premiered at the Joyce Theater in 2022, amongst many other productions and honors.     

Based in Los Angeles, Sandy Rodriguez is a first-generation Chicana artist and researcher. Since receiving her B.F.A. from the California Institute of Arts, she has exhibited her works at the Denver Art Museum; The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Garden; The Amon Carter Museum of American Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Busan, South Korea. Her works, such as Codex Rodriguez-Mondragón, have been featured in BBC News: In The Studio, Hyperallergic, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and Spectrum News/NY1, and her works are in the permanent collections of Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX; and The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Garden, San Marino, CA, among others. 

Hermitage Greenfield Prize recipients and finalists are nominated and selected by a jury of nationally recognized arts leaders. The 2023 jury in dance and choreography included Joseph V. Melillo (chair), BAM’s executive director emeritus and the first member of the Hermitage’s National Curatorial Council; Michael Novak, artistic director of the acclaimed Paul Taylor Dance Company, and a longtime company member himself; and Charmaine Warren, performer, historian, consultant, dance writer, and the founding artistic director for “Black Dance Stories.”

Visual art recipients and finalists of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize are similarly nominated and selected by a jury of nationally recognized arts leaders. The 2023 jury in visual art included Allison Glenn, senior curator at New York’s Public Art Fund and curator of Promise, Witness, Remembrance (2021) at the Speed Art Museum, which The New York Times selected as one of the “Best Art Exhibitions of 2021”; Christine Kuan, president and executive director of Creative Capital, and the former CEO/director of Sotheby’s Institute of Art (NY); and Anne Patterson, acclaimed multidisciplinary visual artist and alumna Hermitage Fellow whose recent commission Ascendant Light is the anchor of Capital One’s corporate headquarters. 

Harris and Rodriguez will be celebrated at the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner on Sunday, April 16th, at 6pm at the Ca’ d’Zan of The Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. Capacity will be limited, so early reservations are strongly recommended. Co-chairs for this event are Tom & Sherry Koski, with The Ringling Museum Executive Director Steven High andSarasota Art Museum Executive Director Virginia Shearerserving as honorary co-chairs.  Tables and sponsorships now available; additional information can be found here.

In addition to the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner on April 16th, the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Celebration will include programs and talks with current and past HGP winners and jurors throughout the weekend of April 14-16, 2023. These events will be presented on the Hermitage beach and throughout Sarasota County with some also available online. Additional details about these programs will be announced at a later date. The Hermitage Greenfield Prize Celebration is presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation, with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County serving as the lead community sponsor.