Bruce Rodgers began his artistic life as a musician studying at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. He received his bachelor’s degree in music education from SUNY Potsdam — Crane School of Music and performing with the world-renowned USMA Band at West Point for three years. After receiving his master’s degree in English and creative writing from Indiana University, he began his theatrical career in 1977 at the GeVa Theatre in Rochester, NY, and was also affiliated with the Tony Award-winning McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, as resident playwright, and the Asolo Rep in Sarasota. His drama, Lost Electra, won the prestigious Lois and Richard Rosenthal New Play Prize in Cincinnati, and a Dramalogue Award in Los Angeles. It has been produced at numerous regional theaters throughout the United States. In 1992, Bruce was commissioned to write the very successful Centerburg Tales for the Asolo Rep. His play, The Gravity of Honey, has seen numerous American productions, as well as a production at the Dublin International Theatre Festival in 1996. Bruce has performed readings of The Gravity of Honey throughout Florida, and as part of the American Library’s “Evenings with Authors” program in Paris.
In the 1980s, Bruce worked extensively throughout the United States consulting in the fields of creativity and creative problem-solving. In this capacity, he worked with such Fortune 500 companies as Scott Paper Company, Bell Communications Research, Johnson and Johnson, Darcy, Macius, Benton, and Bowles, Clarion Communications, BBD&O Advertising, and many others. He co-authored the popular book on corporate creativity, Innovation Inc. — A Guide to Creativity in the Workplace with his consulting partner, Steve Grossman.
Bruce is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Seaside “Escape to Create” Fellow, was named a Distinguished Artist by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and won a playwriting fellowship from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. He has consulted for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and twice for the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. Bruce serves on the governing board of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County and formally served on the national board of trustees for the Alliance of Artist Communities and the state-wide board of the Florida Alliance for Arts Education. He is a member of the founding board of the Hermitage Artist Retreat and is its first executive director, a position he has held since 2005.
Co-Founder and Program Director
Patricia Caswell founded the Hermitage in 2001 with Syd Adler. She directs its public literary and arts programing and its residency program. Patricia created the concept of an artist retreat at the Hermitage; negotiated the county’s land lease; nurtured it as a subsidiary of the Sarasota County Arts Council; incorporated it as an entity; oversaw renovation and redesign of its historic houses; and has raised millions of dollars for capital campaigns and programs. Patricia created several Hermitage traditions, including artist-friendly scheduling, free public programs, popular sunset beach readings, and beloved beach dinners.
As executive director of the Sarasota County Arts Council, a $1.4 million non-profit agency, she developed and led a grant program awarding $15 million to Sarasota County arts organizations. A registered lobbyist on behalf of the arts, Patricia led advocacy campaigns for arts funding and is responsible for the first county-wide strategic arts plan. She started Sarasota County’s first public art ordinance and several other initiatives that broaden the scope of the arts in Sarasota. When arts in the schools were cut, Patricia mounted a campaign resulting in the first district in the U.S. to return arts to classrooms after being de-funded. She initiated the John Ringling Towers Grants for Individual Artists and Historic Preservation and started Sarasota’s Arts Leadership Award.
Patricia received the Sarasota County Tourism Leader of the Year award and the NCJW Woman of Power award. She was TV host/ interviewer of Comcast’s Sarasota Arts Today. Patricia has been named one of Sarasota’s 50 most influential people by Sarasota Magazine, and is a member of Leadership Florida. She was recently honored by a gift from Gerri Aaron of $250,000 to start the Hermitage Founders Fund endowment.
Patricia’s service on boards of directors includes: The Florida Arts Council; The County Economic Development Corp.; Florida Association of Local Arts Agencies President; Florida Cultural Alliance; Sarasota County League of Women Voters; SRQ Airport Advisory Board; Leaders Council of the USF; Non-Profit Resource Center Advisory Board; The Hermitage Board of Trustees, founding member.
She has been a choral director, taught music in public and private schools, and sung leading roles in musical theater. She has a B.A. in music from Edinboro College and continued studies in music at FSU and USF. She is married to attorney Chris Caswell and has a son Ben and daughter Shanley.
Sara Krusenstjerna brings extensive, executive-level experience to the Hermitage Artist Retreat. Sara oversees all aspects of the Hermitage’s development operation, including fundraising initiatives, corporate and foundation relations, community outreach, major gifts, and planned giving.
Most recently, Sara 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, Sara 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. Also in the Sarasota County region, Sara 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.
Sara holds a B.A. in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester, and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. She also pursued post-graduate research in sociology at the University of Edinburgh as a Rotary scholar.
Linda Mansperger got sand in her shoes at an early age and considers herself a Floridian through and through. With an undergraduate degree in history and sociology from Lenior Rhyne University and a Master of Arts degree in American history from Florida State University, Linda’s first experience with historic preservation work was with Herschel Shepard, one of Florida’s premier restoration architects. She began her professional museum career at today’s History Miami, one of the largest history museums in the state, working as a research historian, curator, and project/exhibits manager.
In 1985, Linda moved from Miami to Sarasota to accept the position of executive director of Historic Spanish Point. Under her leadership, more than $4 million was raised to restore and interpret the 30-acre environmental, archaeological, and historic site. In 2001, Historic Spanish Point was accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, joining the top 4 percent of museums in the country. In 2012, Historic Spanish Point partnered with Sarasota County in the creation of the new Osprey Public Library.
Linda is a current board member and past president of the Florida Association of Museums/Foundation and is a recipient of the Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a museum assessment and accreditation site reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums, and a grant reviewer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Past board service includes the Science and Environmental Council of Sarasota County, the Junior League of Sarasota, and Visit Sarasota County.
Joining the Hermitage Artist Retreat staff was a fabulous opportunity for Linda to use her knowledge and skills in caring for Florida’s environment and history while cultivating funders of all kinds to support its mission to nurture artistic creativity.
Dutch-born artist Jacobina Trump is a business coach, speaker, educator, painter, and author who studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague, Holland. After receiving her bachelor’s degree there she became a professor of design and typography at the same institution. She earned an M.F.A. after two years of teaching.
Jacobina’s professional path has included serving as a stage set designer, photographer, art director and decorative painter. In 2006, Jacobina proudly became a U.S. citizen and moved to Indianapolis, where she served on the grants panel at the Arts Council of Indianapolis and organized annual open house arts events at the Stutz Business Center.
In 2010, Jacobina finished a large-scale mural for the University of Miami. She lives in Englewood and has developed her own style of painting.