Post-Hurricane Update

Click here to donate.

Dear Hermitage Friends,

Thank you for all of your thoughtful notes of concern. The love, support, and kindness shown by our artists, supporters, neighbors, audiences, community partners, and collaborators has been overwhelming.

First and foremost, I am grateful to report that the Hermitage staff is all safe, though many of us are still without power throughout the Gulf Coast region, and some members of the team are facing damage to their homes. Since this week was held out for annual repairs, no artists were on the premises at the time of the storm’s arrival.

The Hermitage campus took a hit from Hurricane Ian, but fortunately we are looking at a matter of significant repairs, not rebuilding. The storm surge flooding was not as high as our neighbors to the south, though the wind damage on Manasota Key was quite severe. The building structures have remained largely in place, but we do have some collapsed sections and building repairs ahead of us, plus the grounds of the Hermitage have suffered considerable damages from this hurricane.

Click here to see Jay Handelman’s Herald-Tribune story on the impact of Hurricane Ian on the Hermitage: “Hermitage Artist Retreat May Have Suffered $1 million in Hurricane Ian Damage

I must thank and recognize our incredible staff for the work they did to prepare the campus. Everyone went above and beyond in terms of storm preparations, and the team did everything we could to protect the Hermitage in the lead-up to this monster hurricane. Each member of the staff cares deeply about the Hermitage and put in many hours of heavy labor to prepare the buildings as if it was their own home – nailing up plywood over the historic windows, building sandbags to limit the flooding, and much more.

I am also thankful that last year we made significant investments in building infrastructure throughout the campus, which helped to mitigate the damage. The work that was done to prepare the buildings was invaluable, but as a historic beachfront property in Ian’s path, the impact was very much felt.

Now, the critical work ahead must begin. We are deeply committed to ensuring the Hermitage is restored and protected so that this vital property survives — and thrives — for many years to come.

Our goal is to be operational again as soon as possible — ideally in the weeks ahead, but it’s too soon to give an exact estimate until we know more details about the scope of work, as well as the electricity on the island. While various staff members and I have been down to the campus, please be advised that Manasota Key is not yet the most accessible place to visit.

Regardless of how things shake out with government assistance – which we are of course pursuing – we are going to be facing significant direct expenses to repair the campus and to protect the Hermitage from future weather emergencies.

If you are able, please consider making a fully tax-deductible donation to help our Hermitage Hurricane Repair Efforts. Whatever amount you are able to contribute would be enormously helpful as we look to revive our beautiful campus.

If you prefer to mail a check, please notify our Development Director Amy Wallace via email at Development@HermitageArtistRetreat.org or by phone at 941-475-2098, Ext. 2. Mail delivery on Manasota Key could be delayed until roads are cleared. You may also call Amy to make a payment with a credit card by phone, as she is able to receive calls remotely.

For those who are not able to contribute monetarily, we will be in touch soon about ways you can help to raise awareness and lend a hand. We recognize some of you are facing significant losses of your own, and our hearts go out to all of our friends and neighbors who suffered in Ian’s path.

Funds raised will be used not only to repair the campus and restore the ecological grounds, but also to better protect the campus moving forward. There is a reason so many of our artists and audiences describe the Hermitage as “magical” – now, we must keep that magic alive. 

On behalf of the entire Hermitage team, thank you for all of your support, which is appreciated now more than ever.

Together, we will get through this and emerge even stronger!

With heartfelt gratitude,

Andy Sandberg
Artist Director and CEO

Click here to donate.

Hurricane Ian Damage

Hermitage Artist Retreat may have suffered $1 million in Hurricane Ian damage

by Jay Handelman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, October 1, 2022

The historic wooden cottages that make up the Hermitage Artist Retreat on Manasota Key in Englewood are still standing after Hurricane Ian, but will probably require more than $1 million in repairs.

“It looks like the giant from ‘Into the Woods’ walked onto the campus and stomped around,” Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg said Saturday.

“It’s hard to assess the full damage as yet and we’re working to get contractors down here, but I’m guessing we’re looking at seven figures of damage repairs,” he said.

Fortunately, there were no visiting artists in residence at the retreat, which traditionally closes for a few weeks each September to refresh and repair the buildings. The Hermitage has canceled residencies for two weeks and a program on Oct. 6 at the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast’s Bay Preserve, Sandberg said.

“The grounds are severely torn up. There are trees, leaves and branches on every square inch of the property and all over Manasota Key, and it’s hard to access the key. Manasota Key seems like it’s been a little bit forgotten here on this barrier island that splits two counties,” Sandberg said. 

The Hermitage has five historic buildings on a nine-acre campus where artists from around the world come up to six weeks over two years to work on new projects without the pressures of their everyday lives.

Two of the structures date to 1907, including the Hermitage House, which has served as the main gathering place for artists and some visitors on the grounds. Sandberg said those buildings were moved back 50 feet from the water’s edge during a restoration about 20 years ago. Three other buildings date back to 1941.

Sandberg said when he first drove up after the storm passed, “I was prepared to find that some of the buildings had washed away to Mexico. I was happy to see that the campus is still there. But we suffered some severe damage, some flooding. Fortunately, the storm surge wasn’t as bad as they expected, but the wind damage was pretty bad.”

A few of the doors and windows blew out on the historic structures, and a kayak shed “essentially blew away and I can’t tell you where it went,” he said. The lanai screen also was ripped away from the Palm House, which serves as the organization’s administrative offices.

Sandberg said everything is fixable and “it’s going to take quick action to make it happen. Our top priority is getting back to habitability. We can’t control when Manasota Key gets power back, but we can take action to make sure the buildings are up to functionality in that time.”

He added that some of the artists who have already been to Hermitage have offered to come down and help.

Read the complete article here.

Hermitage Receives Over $220,000 in Regional and National Grants 

The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Sarasota County, Florida) has recently received seven significant grants totaling over $220,000 that will support a variety of programs and initiatives, including the impact of Hermitage Fellows in the region, program accessibility, and organizational communications. Grants were received from the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Frank E. Duckwall Foundation, The Exchange, Florida Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Hermitage received $100,000 from the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation in general operating funds to support community programming and artist impact. “We are incredibly grateful to the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation for believing in our mission and celebrating the work we are doing to both support artists and make an impact in our community,” notes Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “This gift is a powerful vote of confidence in our programming and community outreach – and this grant has already inspired others to support our efforts.” 

The Hermitage was recently awarded a $50,000 Strategic Partnership Grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County (CFSC) to support the Hermitage’s core artist residency program and to once again serve as the Lead Community Sponsor for the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Weekend. This is the sixth year of CFSC’s support of this annual celebration, scheduled for April 14-16, 2023. CFSC previously awarded the Hermitage a $4,500 Capacity Building Grant in the spring to support organizational communications software and database infrastructure.

The Venice Endowment and Zoe Anderson Charitable Funds at Gulf Coast Community Foundation(GCCF)provided a $40,000 Arts Appreciation Grant in support of the Hermitage’s mission: to inspire and foster the most influential and culturally consequential art and artists of our time. The Hermitage became one of Gulf Coast’s “Arts Appreciation” grantees in 2021, following multiple years of ongoing support and partnership. 

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) renewed its support for the Hermitage with a $10,000 grant. These funds are intended to support the Hermitage’s nationally renowned artist residency program.

Additional community program support came from The Exchange, which awarded $5,000 to support “Hermitage North” programming through programs such as “Hermitage @ The Bay.” Florida Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, awarded the Hermitage a $4,850 Community Project Grant in support of its virtual programming series: “Artists and Thinkers: A Creative Conversation.”

Though Hermitage programs are hosted at venues throughout the Gulf Coast region, many of the Hermitage’s artist programs are held on the Hermitage Beach, and a $9,400 grant from the Frank E. Duckwall Foundation will be used to improve beach accessibility for members of the public.

The Hermitage is widely recognized for its national artist residency program and its rapidly expanding community programming, introducing area audiences to some of the world’s leading artists across all disciplines. “As our programs and collaborations continue to evolve and expand throughout our region, we are excited to build bridges to new audiences,” says Sandberg. “We are deeply appreciative for these generous grants from both new and longtime supporters, all of which will allow us to provide more support and resources to the diverse and accomplished Hermitage artists who are making a meaningful and lasting impact in our community.”

Hermitage Announces New Members of National Curatorial Council

Each year, the organization’s esteemed Curatorial Council selects artists of extraordinary ability across multiple disciplines for Hermitage Fellowships. The Hermitage Curatorial Council is comprised of visionary leaders connected to some the most renowned cultural institutions in the world.

The Hermitage Artist Retreat recently announced its 2022-2023 Curatorial Council, comprised of distinguished national arts leaders spanning the fields of theater, music, visual art, literature, and arts education. The newest additions to the Council include award-winning visual and multimedia artist Sanford BiggersNew York Times bestselling author Cathy Park Hong, Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Rajiv Joseph, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun. Sanford Biggers and Du Yun are also Hermitage alumni, with Biggers winning the Hermitage Greenfield Prize in 2010 – the first awarded in the discipline of visual art.

“We are honored to welcome these visionary leaders to the Hermitage Curatorial Council,” says Andy Sandberg, Artistic Director and CEO of the Hermitage. “Sanford Biggers, Cathy Park Hong, Rajiv Joseph, and Du Yun are forward-thinking creative minds with a finger on the pulse, each highly regarded for their unique contributions to their respective fields. The members of this esteemed Curatorial Council share a collective passion for the development and creation of new work from bold and diverse voices, and we are incredibly fortunate to have them in the Hermitage family. With their breadth of experience, their vast networks, and their insightful ability to identify extraordinary talent, we know that the selection of our Fellows could not be in better hands.”

Sanford Biggers was awarded the Hermitage Greenfield Prize in 2010. His work is an interplay of narrative, perspective, and history that speaks to current social, political, and economic happenings while also examining the contexts that bore them. His diverse practice positions him as a collaborator with the past through explorations of often-overlooked cultural and political narratives from American history. Appointed the 2021-2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor and Scholar in the MIT Department of Architecture, he is also a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, a recipient of the Rome Prize in Visual Art, and the 2018 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award.  

Cathy Park Hong’s New York Times bestselling book of creative nonfiction, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography, and earned her recognition on TIME’s “100 Most Influential People of 2021” list. She is also the author of poetry collections Engine EmpireDance Dance Revolution, chosen by Adrienne Rich for the Barnard Women Poets Prize; and Translating Mo’um. Hong is the recipient of the Windham-Campbell Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She is a full professor at Rutgers-Newark University.

Rajiv Joseph’s play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama and also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. He has twice won the Obie Award for Best New American Play, first in 2016 with Guards at the Taj (also a 2016 Lortel Winner for Best Play) and in 2021 for Describe the Night. Other plays include ArchdukeGruesome Playground InjuriesAnimals Out of PaperThe Lake EffectThe North PoolMr. Wolf, and King James. He is also a member of Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago.

Du Yun was born and raised in Shanghai, China, and works at the intersection of opera, orchestral, theater, cabaret, musical, oral tradition, public performances, electronics, visual arts, and noise. Known for her “relentless originality and unflinching social conscience” (The New Yorker), Du Yun’s second opera, Angel’s Bone (libretto by Royce Vavrek), won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Music. She was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Classical Composition category for her work Air Glow. Her collaborative opera Sweet Land with Raven Chacon (for opera company The Industry) was named the 2021 Best New Opera by the North America Critics Association. Du Yun is a past Hermitage Fellow.

The full National Curatorial Council for the 2022-2023 season, comprised of 13 accomplished and diverse nominating members from across the country, includes: 

Sanford Biggers (visual art), Celebrated Visual and Multimedia Artist, Guggenheim Fellow, Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner

Eric Booth (arts education)International Arts Learning Consultant with Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, LA Philharmonic, Juilliard, and more

Christopher Burney (theater and film), Artistic Director of New York Stage and Film

Daniel Byers (visual art)Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University 

Claire Chase (music) Flutist, Avery Fisher Prize Winner, and MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellow

Jennifer Clement (literature)President, PEN International 

Kimberly Drew (visual art), Writer, Independent Curator, and Art Influencer

Nataki Garrett (theater), Artistic Director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Cathy Park Hong (literature), Award-Winning Author and Time’s “100 Most Influential People of 2021”

Rajiv Joseph (theater), Award-Winning Playwright and Screenwriter; Member of Steppenwolf Theater, Chicago

Mitchell Jackson (literature), Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author

Terrance McKnight (music) Evening Host of WNYC/WQXR Radio

Du Yun (music)Pulitzer Prize-Winning and Grammy Award-Nominated Composer

Hermitage Welcomes Four New Members to Board of Trustees

The Hermitage Artist Retreat announced today that Sondra BillerStephanie JonesLiz Richardson, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Hermitage alumnus Doug Wright have been elected to the Hermitage Board of Trustees. These newest additions to the Hermitage Board follow a successful season that has included over 50 live programs and events, dozens of new and expanded arts and education collaborations in the community, another record-breaking fiscal year, a dramatic expansion of the Hermitage team, and the launch of a new national commission in theater. 

“We are incredibly excited to be welcoming these four distinguished individuals to the Hermitage Board as we enter our 20th anniversary season,” says Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “These are some of the Hermitage’s most vibrant champions, and their passion for the mission and future of the organization is truly inspiring. Their experience, intelligence, and thoughtful creativity will be invaluable to the organization’s continued growth and success.”

Robyn Citrin will continue in her second year as President of the Hermitage Board, with David Greenserving as Vice President, Steve Adler as Treasurer, Ellen Berman as Secretary, and Carole Crosby as Chair of Governance.  

“It is truly an honor to welcome Doug, Liz, Sondra, and Stephanie to our Board,” says Hermitage Board President Robyn Citrin. “Andy’s vision for the Hermitage is truly inspiring, and along with the extraordinary team that he has assembled, they are elevating the organization to new heights and putting the Hermitage on the national map. I look forward to working with these new trustees to ensure a bright future for the organization, creating a lasting impact in our community and our culture.”

Doug Wright is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright. He is a Hermitage alumnus and served as a juror for the inaugural Hermitage Major Theater Award in 2021. His plays and musicals include I Am My Own Wife (Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize in Drama), Quills (subsequently adapted by Wright as a screenplay), Grey Gardens, The Little Mermaid, War Paint, and Hands on a Hardbody, among others. He has served on the boards of New York Theatre Workshop, Yaddo, and the Dramatists Guild, where he served as President for many years. He lives in New York with his partner, songwriter David Clement.

Stephanie Jones is a native of Richmond, Virginia. Having worked in corporate recruiting for over 20 years, she is currently the Director of Experienced Talent Acquisition for Kroll, a global professional services firm that specializes in helping organizations anticipate and exceed the complex demands surrounding risk, governance, operations, and growth. Stephanie has been in the Gulf Coast region for three years, living with her husband Gene in Venice, who serves as President and CEO of the YMCA of Southwest Florida.

Sondra Biller’s career began as a registered nurse in Austin, Texas. She holds a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in public administration. She also has a certificate from the School of Business’ Management Institute at the University of North Carolina. Biller has worked at the UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, where she held positions as a nurse educator clinician and nurse manager for a new acute rehabilitation unit. Upon moving to Chicago, she worked in health care marketing for assisted living and rehabilitation facilities. Her volunteer service has included serving as a tour guide at the Chicago History Museum and a disaster responder for the American Red Cross. Sondra and her husband Gerald moved to Sarasota in 2012, where they have been active members of the arts community. She served as Co-Chair of the 2022 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner.

Liz Richardson is a passionate advocate for the arts, education, and conservation. She began her career in the healthcare industry, starting as a clinical speech pathologist and then moving into management as a program evaluation director, followed by establishing a healthcare quality management consulting practice. In the non-profit world, Richardson has been a vigorous public education advocate, serving as President of the Board of the Newton Schools Foundation for multiple years. She has also served as a volunteer and board member for “Understanding Our Differences,” an award-winning national disability awareness and acceptance program. Along with other Boston area women, she began the non-profit “Women Working for Oceans,” increasing awareness of and participation in ocean conservation. She has also been active for many years as a board member of Boston’s “Invest to Elect,” a non-profit dedicated to electing women to positions of federal leadership. She and her husband Duncan now spend half of their year in Florida as residents of Manasota Key.

The Hermitage’s board officers for the 2022-2023 season are: Robyn Citrin, President; David Green, Vice President; Steve Adler, Treasurer; and Ellen Berman, Secretary. The Hermitage Board of Trustees also includes Sondra Biller*, Christine Boone, Maryann Casey, Carole Crosby, Marletta Darnall, Leslie Edwards, Stephanie Jones*, Tina Shao Napoli, Michael Pender, Charlotte Perret, Liz Richardson*, Edward M. Swan, Jr., Nelda Thompson, Mary Lou Winnick, Doug Wright*, and Andy Sandberg, Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO (ex-officio). *Indicates New Trustee

Hermitage and Sarasota Opera to present “Music’s Masterpieces”

The Hermitage Artist Retreat announces a new program presented in partnership with Sarasota Opera featuring the work of Hermitage Fellow Hilan Warshaw, a filmmaker and musician whose work focuses on the lives and works of some of music’s most influential figures. The film screening and discussion will take place on Friday, August 26 at 6pm at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple AveRegistration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org

Hermitage Fellow Hilan Warshaw‘s films explore the lives and minds of great composers, delving into the often controversial passions and experiences that informed some of music’s most influential masterpieces. Blending documentary, narrative film techniques, and his own musical background as a violinist and conductor, Warshaw’s internationally broadcast films shine a new light on musical and operatic creators including Wagner, Schoenberg, Berg, Bach, and Mahler. He is currently the video director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s on-demand Classical Series. For this program on August 26, Warshaw shares excerpts from his films and discusses the close relationship between the art forms of cinema and music. 

“We are excited to partner with Sarasota Opera as we introduce Hilan Warshaw to the many classical music appreciators in our region,” says Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “We are proud to support new musical voices and multidisciplinary artists, and Hilan’s extraordinary talent as a filmmaker in the field of classical music seemed like the perfect opportunity to collaborate with our friends at the Opera as he shares his gifts for cinematic and musical storytelling with our community.” 

Please note: Unlike most Hermitage programs, this event will be held indoors at the Sarasota Opera House. Capacity for this event may be limited to accommodate safe social distancing, so early reservations are recommended. Admission is free with a $5 per person registration fee. Face masks are strongly encouraged at check-in; the Hermitage and/or Sarasota Opera reserves the right to add additional health and safety protocols for this event as deemed necessary.

Hermitage Announces Dates for 2022-2023 Benefit Events as Part of 20th Anniversary Season

Kicking off the Hermitage Artist Retreat’s 20th Anniversary Season, the Hermitage’s annual Artful Lobster: An Outdoor Celebration will be held on Saturday, November 12, 2022, from 11:30am to 2pm. Now in its 14th year, this signature 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 luscious lobster feast, with performances from renowned Hermitage Fellows. 

The 15th Anniversary of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner will be held on Sunday, April 16, 2023, from 6pm to 8:30pm outdoors on the grounds of The Ringling Museum in Sarasota and catered by Michael’s On East. This elegant dinner heralds the jury-selected recipient of this prestigious prize, which will be awarded in the discipline of visual art in 2023. The $30,000 Hermitage Greenfield Prize is an annual commission awarded by the Hermitage Artist Retreat in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation, and rotates among music, theater, and visual art. The 2023 prize winner’s newly commissioned work will have its first public presentation in Sarasota in the spring of 2025. 

2022-2023 Dates for “Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens”

The Hermitage Artist Retreat’s popular series, “Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens,” continues into its third year with a multi-program series as part of the 2022-2023 season. The outdoor series – a collaboration between the Hermitage and Selby Gardens – features performances and explorations of works-in-progress by Hermitage artists-in-residence and alumni. All “Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens” events are currently scheduled to take place at Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus. The first of these events is “The Latest from Terry Guest,” where playwright and Hermitage Fellow Terry Guest will share selections from and discuss one of his exciting new projects on Friday, August 19 at 6:30 p.m., behind Payne Mansion at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus, 1534 Mound St., Sarasota. Admission is free, but registration is required ($5/person) at HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

Confirmed event dates for this third season of “Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens” include:
• Friday, Aug. 19, 6:30 p.m. “The Latest from Terry Guest”
• Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, 5:00 p.m.
• Thursday, March 16, 2023, 6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, May 18, 2023, 6:30 p.m.
Additional dates may be added.

Each program will feature a celebrated Hermitage artist (or artists) to be announced. Last year’s “Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens” featured the works of Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Michael R. Jackson, Kleban Prize winner César Alvarez, world-renowned violinist and member of Beyonce’s band Lady Jess, interdisciplinary performance artist Ni’Ja Whitson, opera singer Thea Lobo, as well as celebrated mime and storyteller Bill Bowers. The 2021-2022 season also saw Selby Gardens host the launch of the Ruby E. Crosby Alumni Music Series with celebrated harpist Ashley Jackson. “Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens” began in the 2020-2021 season and featured MacArthur ‘Genius’ and Avery Fisher Prize winner Claire Chase, composer and santur player Amir El-Saffar, musical theater composer Rona Siddiqui, and distinguished cellist Dorothy Lawson of ETHEL. 

“As we continue to expand our Hermitage programming throughout the region and find safe ways to gather in person, we are thrilled to once again welcome audiences to share a unique and magical evening with Hermitage artists against the beauitul backdrop of Selby Gardens,” says Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “We look forward to our continuing partnership with Selby Gardens on this popular series, and welcoming new audiences to experience a ‘sneak peek’ into these extraordinary artists’ creative process.” Sandberg also notes that safety and comfort remain a top priority, so as with the Hermitage beach programs on Manasota Key, seating will be outdoors and socially distanced.

Hermitage Launches Sarasota “Cross Arts Collaborative” in Support of Local Arts Institutions

The Hermitage Artist Retreat is pleased to announce the launch of the new Sarasota Cross Arts Collaborative, made possiblewith generous support from the Koski Family Foundation. This new initiative is designed to give frequent performers and company members from leading Sarasota arts organizations a chance to expand their artistic practice from ‘performer’ to ‘creator.’

Each year, the Hermitage will award Cross Arts Collaborative residencies to artists from two selected partner institutions. This new program is designed to inspire and encourage generative work created by some of the best and brightest in our vibrant performing arts community. Artists are invited by their respective organizations to submit proposals for consideration; finalists are then submitted to the Hermitage for consideration, and recipients are selected in consultation with past and current members of the Hermitage’s National Curatorial Council. Recipients receive two weeks of uninterrupted time at the Hermitage Artist Retreat each summer to develop a new generative project, and the work is then shared with the Sarasota community in a free public program the following fall. 

In the inaugural season of the Hermitage Cross Arts Collaborative, this distinguished honor has been awarded to Tsebiyah Mishael Derry, a frequent collaborator with Florida Studio Theatre, and Derric Gobourne, Jr, a performer with deep roots at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. Considering the initial season features partnerships with two theater organizations, the final selection of artists was overseen by Emily Mann, an Emeritus member of the Hermitage Curatorial Council and the Tony Award-winning longtime Artistic Director of the McCarter Theater (Princeton, New Jersey). Mann noted how engrossing the applications were and the worthiness of each reviewed by the Council. A free public program showcasing the work Derry and Gobourne is planned for the fall of 2022; details will be announced at a later time.

While the Hermitage’s nationally renowned residency program brings leading artists from across the country and around the world to create work on its beachfront Manasota Key campus, the Hermitage also seeks to enrich the incredible and growing arts scene in Sarasota, as showcased by performing arts institutions such as Florida Studio Theatre and Westcoast Back Theatre Troupe. 

“We want to offer this one-of-a-kind opportunity to some of the leading artists in Sarasota, by creating space for a talented performer to focus on being a generative artist,”said Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “We know there are actors, dancers, musicians, and performing artists working amidst our circle of frequent collaborators who have passion projects waiting in the wings. This could be an actor writing a play between production contracts, a cellist composing a symphony after rehearsals, a dancer yearning to expand into the choreographer’s space – or someone looking to work across an entirely new genre. This residency is designed for an artist who is hungry to expand their creative practice and explore a new ‘hat’ within the arts and entertainment space.” Sandberg added that this new Cross Arts Collaborative initiative would not be possible without the generous support of the Koski Family Foundation, longtime supporters and champions of the Hermitage.

“We are proud of our long history of collaboration with the Hermitage and the collective impact we have on the Sarasota community,” said Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. “The Cross Arts Collaborative is an exciting new way to gather resources in service of the artists who consider Westcoast Black Theater Troupe their creative home.” The selected artist from Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, Derric Gobourne Jr., plans to use the time to develop a new music short film. Of this opportunity, Jacobs added that “Derric has been a member of our creative family for many years and it has been a joy to witness his growth as an artist; I believe this residency will open up new creative possibilities for him and allow him to rise to the next level.”

Tsebiyah Mishael Derry, the selected artist from Florida Studio Theatre will use the time to create an experimental theatrical work weaving together her own poetry, songs, and more. “Every time we partner with the Hermitage, the result is a unique look into the creative process of making theater through the eyes of a leading artist in the field,” said Florida Studio Theatre Founder and Artistic Director Richard Hopkins. “I’m so pleased we are able to collaborate once more to provide this opportunity to Tsebiyah who is quickly making a name for herself as one of those leading artists. We are honored to call her an FST creative family member and cannot wait to see what this dedicated time and space to delve into her richly varied artistry will produce.” 

After their time in residence, the Hermitage will collaborate with the selected partner institutions to bring a public program to the Sarasota community to highlight Derric and Tsebiyah’s work. 

Hermitage 2022 STARs Announced

Five Florida public school arts teachers will spend part of their summer on Manasota Key while working on their own artistic endeavors. They are the winners of the 2022 State Teachers Artist Residency program (STARs) – now in its twelfth year – presented by the Hermitage Artist Retreat in partnership with the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE). This year’s recipients were selected from dozens of impressive applicants, and the five teachers selected from across the State of Florida include three visual arts educators, a band leader and music theory teacher, and for the first time in the STARs program, a dance instructor. The five receive a residency at the nationally renowned Hermitage Artist Retreat, where they can focus on their own work and craft as creative artists. These five teaching artists will present a hands-on, family-friendly showcase of their work on Friday, July 15 at 2pm. This special event will be held outdoors at the Hermitage’s beachfront campus on Manasota Key; entrance at 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood, FL 34223. The program is presented in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. In addition to the students attending from the Boys & Girls Clubs, this Hermitage community program will be free and open to the public with a $5/person registration fee. Due to capacity limitations and safety protocols, registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

“These exceptional educators are also talented artists and creative minds in their own right,” says Andy Sandberg, Artistic Director and CEO of the Hermitage. “During the academic year, their attention is devoted entirely to their students, and this has been a particularly challenging time for educators throughout our nation. The STARs program offers five distinguished teachers from across the State of Florida the opportunity to experience what leading artists from around the world have come to the Hermitage for – to focus on their craft, their art, and their creative process. Over the years, the STARs have created some truly stunning works of art, music, theater, and literature during their time at the Hermitage. Many teaching artist alumni have shared that this program enables them to return to their students with a new fire and passion for arts education.”

The five recipients of this honor, selected among dozens of impressive applicants, include: Brooke Adkins, a dance instructor at Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange; Charles Eady, a visual arts instructor at Belleview High School in Belleview; Jessie Leasure, an art instructor at D.S. Parrott Middle School in Brooksville; Jennifer Rodriguez, a ceramics instructor at the J.M. Tate Senior High School in Cantonment; and Zoe Stayman, a music instructor at the LaVilla School of the Arts in Jacksonville. 

Florida arts educators apply for the Hermitage summer residencies through FAAE. Applications are open to all Florida music, theater, visual art, dance, and creative writing teachers. Since the start of the program in 2011, 57 teachers have represented nearly 30 Florida counties. These distinguished residencies culminate with a free community program, this year hosted in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. 

“We’re excited to be partnering with the Hermitage to offer this special opportunity to our incredible Club members,” said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. “The Hermitage aims to inspire creative minds to achieve their greatest potential, and we’re excited to share this special summer program with our BGCSDC youth and families.”

The STARs program is one of the only Hermitage residency programs open to application; arts educators from public schools throughout the State of Florida are eligible. For more information about the Hermitage STARs program and how to apply, Florida arts educators are encouraged to visit www.FAAE.org.

“We look forward to seeing what this latest group of STARs will create,” says Sandberg. “It is an honor to celebrate Florida’s leading arts educators, and we are grateful to the Florida Alliance for Arts Education for their continued partnership. We are also looking forward to collaborating for the first time with the Boys & Girls Clubs as we share the STARs talents with the members of our community and the next generation.”