Andy Sandberg appointed artistic director and CEO

Following an extensive national search, the board of the Hermitage Artist Retreat announced today that the organization has chosen Andy Sandberg as its artistic director and chief executive officer. Sandberg is an accomplished director, writer, and Tony Award-winning producer, whose national and international career has been committed to new work and artist development.

Click here to read the full announcement and learn more about Andy. Events to introduce Andy to the community will be announced at a later date.

A Letter to the Community
Andy Sandberg
Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer
The Hermitage Artist Retreat

Dear Hermitage Friends, Colleagues, Neighbors, and Alumni,

I am honored to lead the Hermitage into the next chapter of its history. Throughout my career, I have been an advocate for new work, and the Hermitage provides artists an invaluable opportunity to nurture bold ideas while planting the seeds for great works of art to sprout up around the country and throughout the world. I have been fortunate to work with so many brilliant artists over the years as a director, writer, and producer, and I am incredibly excited to be appointed the artistic director and CEO of the Hermitage, an organization that shares my longstanding commitment to artistic growth and the development of new work.

I look forward to being part of this extraordinary tradition and working with a brilliant and diverse group of artists across multiple disciplines to achieve their goals. The unique experience that the Hermitage offers is essential to our artistic landscape. The original and impactful works created at the Hermitage are going on to renowned theaters, concert halls, and galleries throughout the United States and across multiple continents.

It is a privilege to work with the board of trustees, the dedicated Hermitage staff, and our regional partners as we plan for the future of this great organization. I am grateful to Bruce Rodgers for his years of unwavering leadership, and I am eager to build on the organization’s impressive history while also reimagining what’s possible for the Hermitage in the years ahead. As we look to expand the Hermitage’s reach and impact, building new partnerships and relationships for the company, I am energized by and deeply committed to our core mission – to inspire the artists of our time.

Thank you for welcoming me into your community and into the Hermitage family.

Sincerely,
Andy Sandberg

Hermitage offers four free community programs in December

The first of the Hermitage’s free December programs is “Poem, Play and Novel: Three Readings,” with poet Greg Wrenn, playwright Sharyn Rothstein, and novelist Sugi Ganeshananthan, Friday, December 13, 4:30 p.m., on the beach at the Hermitage. Wrenn, a lifelong scuba diver, will give a reading from his eco memoir centered around the ocean. Rothstein, a playwright and television writer, will read from one of her many works. Ganeshananthan will read from her novel in progress, Movement, which tracks a medic-turned-doctor during and after the Sri Lankan civil war. Audience members are welcome to bring blankets and chairs; in case of rain, the event will be moved inside. Click for reservations.

Violinist and freestyle composition artist Mazz Swift (pictured) will perform an informal concert on Friday, December 20, 4:30 p.m., in the Palm House at the Hermitage. She’ll play works in progress, songs of resistance, spirituals, modern day protest music, and share her thoughts on the Ghanaian concept of “Sankofa,” or looking back to learn how to move forward. This will be followed by an opt-in group exploration of conduction (conducted improvisation). No musical, improvisational, or conduction experience is necessary for participation. Musicians are welcome to bring their instruments. Click for reservations.

Hermitage North returns featuring an open class with mime artist Bill Bowers, Saturday, December 21, 11 a.m., in the Jane B. Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for Performing Arts. Hailed by critics as the most accomplished and renowned mime of his generation, Bowers performs and teaches the art of physical storytelling throughout the world. He is also an award-winning actor and has appeared on the stages of Broadway, The Kennedy Center, The White House, La MaMa, the New York International Fringe Festival and many other venues. In this program, Bowers will demonstrate basic pantomime technique and perform selections from his solo plays. FSU students who have been studying with Bowers will share work from their week-long residency with him. Reservations can be made by calling the FSU Center box office at 941-351-8000.

Let’s Talk Opera,” part of the Fridays @ Five series, is Friday, December 27, 5 p.m., in the Palm House. Engage in conversation with contemporary opera creators Laura Kaminsky, composer, and Kimberly Reed, librettist and filmmaker. They wrote the opera, “As One,” with Hermitage Fellow Mark Campbell.  “As One” is the most-produced modern opera in America.  Video opera scenes will bookend the discussion. Click for reservations.

All programs are subject to change. Please check the Hermitage website or Facebook page for updated program status.

Leslie Dignam Edwards appointed board president

Bruce Rodgers, the executive director of the Hermitage Artist Retreat, recently announced that the organization has appointed Leslie Dignam Edwards as the new president of its board of trustees. It has also elected four board members to a three-year term: Ellen Berman, Robyn Citrin, Carole Crosby, and Peggy Hunt.

Leslie was born and raised in Englewood. She was appointed vice president of the Hermitage’s board of trustees and moved into the position of president upon the death of co-founder Syd Adler in 2004. Leslie is a real estate broker and president of Key Realty, Inc., a firm her grandfather started in 1952. She serves on the board of Kids Needs of Greater Englewood and is an honorary board member of the Suncoast Humane Society, where she has been a key player in implementing a $10 million capital campaign.

“Leslie led the organization through a critical period in its nascent years as it sought to recover from the loss of its co-founder, Syd Adler,” says Bruce Rodgers, executive director. “She created the Artful Lobster fundraising event, which has become one of the Hermitage’s signature events. And now she returns to the board at yet another transitional moment, as the Hermitage undergoes a planned change in executive directors,” says Rodgers, referring to the fact that he’s retiring at the end of December.

Leslie says she’s looking forward to the next chapter of the Hermitage. “Bruce has been a dynamic leader for nearly 15 years,” she says. “We’re all sorry to see him go—and thrilled to see him continue his artistic journey.” As to the artistic journey of the Hermitage? “I’m looking forward to what comes next,” says Edwards. “Bruce worked hard to make our future a bright one. He achieved great things during his time at the Hermitage. Our next director will build on that legacy and carry it forward. Our next chapter is about to begin—and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

The Hermitage Artist Retreat’s board of trustees includes Leslie Edwards, president; Steve Adler, vice president; David B. Green, vice president; Larry Bold, treasurer; Michéle Des Verney Redwine, secretary; and Ellen Berman, Susan Brainerd, Robyn Citrin, Carole Crosby, Marletta Darnall, Peggy Hunt, Laura Kaminsky, R. Andrew (Andy) Maass, Joy P. Norwood, Charlotte Perret, Karen Solem, and Nelda Thompson.

Roberto Bentivegna’s Gucci movie to be directed by Ridley Scott with Lady Gaga in lead role

Screenwriter Roberto Bentivegna worked on his screenplay “Gucci” while he was at the Hermitage. It’s now been announced with Ridley Scott directing and Lady Gaga in the lead role. The Sarasota Film Festival and Mark Famiglio underwrote Roberto’s Hermitage residency. Read more in Rolling Stone.

Artful Lobster Nov. 9

The highly popular Artful Lobster is our signature fundraising event, and the only one to take place on our Manasota Key Gulf-front campus. With luscious lobster, a complete gourmet buffet, live entertainment by Hermitage artists, and an anticipated auction, the Artful Lobster kicks off the season for many in our community.

NEW THIS YEAR – There will be an air conditioned trolley bringing Artful Lobster attendees to the Hermitage from Sarasota.

Learn more here.

Co-chaired by Susan Brainerd and Susan McLeod, all proceeds go toward the Hermitage mission: inspiring the artists of our time.  

Hermitage appoints development director

Bruce Rodgers, the executive director of the Hermitage Artist Retreat, recently announced that the organization has welcomed Sara Krusenstjerna as its new development director. He notes that Krusenstjerna “brings extensive, executive-level experience in all areas of development.” In her new role, Krusenstjerna will oversee all aspects of the Hermitage’s development operation, including fundraising initiatives, corporate and foundation relations, community outreach, major gifts, and planned giving.

Krusenstjerna served as director of philanthropic planning for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra where she was responsible for developing the legacy giving program and fostering partnerships with regional estate planning professionals. Before the BSO, Krusenstjerna worked for 10 years in academic fundraising: She was director of development at the University of Arizona, and vice president of philanthropy at New College Foundation in Sarasota. In the Sarasota region, Krusenstjerna also served as a consultant with numerous social services and arts organizations, including the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Sarasota County Arts Council, Asolo Rep, Coastal Behavioral Healthcare, and Child Protection Center. Before that, she was executive director of Young Audiences of Rochester, then the largest arts learning organization in upstate New York. Krusenstjerna holds a BA in Piano Performance from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester, and a JD from Columbia University School of Law. She also pursued post-graduate research in sociology at the University of Edinburgh as a Rotary scholar.

“I am delighted to return to Sarasota and deeply honored to join the Hermitage staff,” says Krusenstjerna. “I look forward to working with colleagues, friends and community partners on behalf of this extraordinary organization. What a wonderful homecoming!”