2022 Hermitage STARs

July 15, 2022 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Hermitage Artist Retreat Campus (outdoors)
6660 Manasota Key Road
FL 34223

Five of Florida’s best and brightest arts educators are coming to the Hermitage Artist Retreat to zoom in on their own creative practice. Hailing from across the state, their artistic disciplines range as widely as their geographic homes with three focused on different fields of visual art including ceramics, collage, and painting, a musician and band leader, and for the first-time-ever, a dance instructor. These five artists will collaborate to present a hands-on “art’s buffet” with a sampling from each of their artistic practices outdoors on the Hermitage Artist Retreat’s beachfront campus. This Hermitage community program is presented in partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties and is free and open to the public with a $5/person registration fee. Due to capacity limitations and safety protocols, registration is required. Register here.

Brooke Adkins has been the dance educator at Spruce Creek High School in Port Orange, Florida for the past nineteen years. Brooke graduated from The Academy of the Washington Ballet and Marshall University, and her focus in the private studio setting was Classical Ballet. Now, as a Public High School dance educator, Brooke exposes her students to a wide variety of dance genres, including many non-Eurocentric dance techniques. Brooke espouses the motto: “Dance for every child” and is working to introduce Dance into the public elementary schools in Volusia County. She has been the dance liaison for Volusia County Dance Programs and founded the Volusia County Dance Performance Assessment, now in its tenth year. She has choreographed over 300 dances over the years; she has had students accepted to prestigious college dance programs and go on to professional dance careers. Brooke is also a published poet and entrepreneur. She lives in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Charles Eady is an award-winning contemporary artist and author who uses art to analyze long-held beliefs about the South. His paintings examine little-known facts about Southern history, and for the past decade, his emphasis has been on the lives of those living in the South before the Civil War. He has a unique artistic language for layering art into history. In 2023, Eady will receive his first solo exhibit at the Appleton Museum in Ocala, Florida; a recent painting of his is a part of their permanent collection. He is the Grand Prize winner of ArtFields 2021 and authored the book Hidden Freedom. His works portray images of free Blacks before the emancipation proclamation. Eady endeavors for his art to give a clearer view of the South to reduce social conflicts. The thought-provoking pieces give voice to a population silenced from history.

Jessie Leasure has been creatively engaged since childhood. To hone her craft, she received her Bachelor’s degree from New College of Florida and her MFA from Jacksonville University (completed during the Covid pandemic). Working in a loose-realistic style, Leasure primarily uses acrylic paint and drawing materials to convey emotional content drawn from personal experience. To this end, she employs the human figure’s incredible capacity for expression, especially through body language. She has exhibited in shows and galleries and is featured in private collections throughout the state of Florida. Currently, she maintains a Florida-based studio and teaches art full-time.  

Jennifer Rodriguez became interested in art at an early age, as her mother taught her to draw and paint before she even entered school. As a native Floridian, Rodriguez has always felt deeply connected to the wildlife, land and waterways of her home, which informs much of her work. Rodriguez has worked in a variety of media, but most of her recent work has been in ceramics. She believes that the tactile process of working with clay itself creates a strong affinity with nature, as clay is derivative of the earth’s crust. She says she uses clay as a creative vehicle to explore biomorphic forms and their organic textures.

Zoe Stayman is a Delaware native and just completed her first year as a middle school band director in Jacksonville. Prior to teaching, she studied horn with Dr. Paul Basler and received the Russell and Brenda Robinson Music Educator Award for outstanding leadership, performance, and potential as a young educator. Zoe’s interests lie in diversifying public school music programs to better represent the way students interact with music in their own time. She holds a passion for teaching music technology and about the music industry. Last year Zoe was accepted to participate in the national Music Technology Leadership Academy sponsored by NAMM and used this newfound knowledge to mentor two of her students, who submitted for and presented at FMEA’s annual Digital Music Showcase in January 2022. She has been involved with both classical and commercial music in central Florida as a performer and with Soundview Multimedia, a company with which she recorded concerts for the Ocala Symphony Orchestra. In her free time, Zoe enjoys arranging pop music for French horn choir and posting to YouTube, following current events, and roller skating.