On Thursday, July 28, the Hermitage Artist Retreat will present the work of their STARs, the five Florida arts teachers who were awarded the coveted State Teacher Artist Residency this year

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STARs Come Out For An Evening of Art at the Hermitage

On Thursday, July 28, the Hermitage Artist Retreat will present the work of their STARs, the five Florida arts teachers who were awarded the coveted State Teacher Artist Residency this year. These residencies are provided through a partnership between the Hermitage and the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE). The event begins at 6:30 pm with open studios and open house tours of the historic cottages that make up the Hermitage Artist Retreat historic campus at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood. At 7:15 the program moves to the beach for a reading of prose and poems accompanied by music. All ends with Mother Nature’s sunset. Bring your beach chairs and any refreshments you care to enjoy. Hermitage community programs are free but reservations as strongly suggested in case the program needs to move indoors to the Hermitage’s Palm House, 6630 Manasota Key Road, where space is limited. Reserve by calling 941-475-2098, ext. 8 or by emailing your name and number in your party to [email protected]. The STARs program is funded in part by a grant from the Allyn Foundation.

I can hardly believe it’s been five years since we initiated this program,” recalled Hermitage Executive Director Bruce E. Rodgers. “This year’s STARs include a composer, two visual artists, one photographer and one writer. They are from five different Florida counties that stretch from the Panhandle to Dade County. They are creating wonderful art and are really invigorated by our tranquil setting and the opportunity to be only artists for these few weeks. It’s our gift to Florida Arts Education and it’s as rewarding to us as these artists/teachers, who give so much to our children day in and day out. We look forward to introducing them.”

Beginning at 6:30, there will be three open studios where STARs will show and tell about their work. In the Hermitage House study, photographer Erin Bess will display some of her photos and paintings and show a video of her work. Bess teaches art at Turner/Bartels K-8 School in Hillsborough County. Jeff Byers, an art teacher at Taylor County High School in Taylor County, will be in the 3D Studio, giving a talk about his work which will feature a display of finished and unfinished pottery. In the Tom Dignam Beach Cottage, Elizabeth Vitale will display a collection of her abstract paintings, mixed media and stitching. Vitale teaches two-dimensional design at Nova High School in Broward County.

At 7:15, the program relocates to the beach where Joy Hawkins, our first STAR from Manatee County, will read historical fiction based on a member of her family. It’s a story she has carried with her for years and is finally getting a good chunk of time to work on this novel. Hawkins is a reading and literature teacher at Buffalo Creek Middle School. She will also read poems she wrote during her residency. The plan is for her to be accompanied by fellow STAR Adalberto Yanes on the keyboard. Yanes teaches Music at Doral Academy Preparatory Charter School in Dade County. Following that, Aldalberto Yanes will talk about his music and play a little more as the sun sets over the Gulf. 

Our Summer STARs are always entertaining, enthusiastic and extraordinary artists,” remarked Program Director Patricia Caswell. “Many people may not realize the caliber of artistry that is in our schools. Meeting the Hermitage STARs will reinforce the level of professionals who are teaching art in Florida. We are proud of them and of this program. Those who join us on July 28th will see why.”

The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, FL. It invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked to contribute two services to the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each year. Hermitage community programs are partially sponsored by Philanthropist Gerri Aaron, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the Woman’s Exchange. In addition, the Hermitage awards and administers the prestigious Greenfield Prize, an annual $30,000 commission for a new work of art, rotating among visual art, music and drama. The Hermitage also partners with the Aspen Music Festival and School to award the annual Hermitage Prize to a composition student during the Festival. For more information about the Hermitage Artist Retreat or its community programming, visit the Hermitage Facebook page, call 941-475-2098, ext. 5, or go to the website at www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

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