The Hermitage Artist Retreat, along with its partner the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE), is pleased to announce this summer’s recipients of the State Teacher Artist Residencies (STARs); From July 11 through July 31, five artists, whose “day” job is to teach the arts to Florida students, will live and work at the Hermitage; Adalberto Yanes, Elizabeth Vitale, Erin Bess, Joy Hawkins, Jeff Byers

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Summer STARs Announced

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, along with its partner the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE), is pleased to announce this summer’s recipients of the State Teacher Artist Residencies (STARs). From July 11 through July 31, five artists, whose “day” job is to teach the arts to Florida students, will live and work at the Hermitage. They are Composer Adalberto Yanes, Visual Artists Jeff Byers and Elizabeth Vitale, Photographer Erin Bess and Writer Joy Hawkins. FAAE selects the STARs, after reviewing all applicants. The application process is open to all Florida public school arts teachers. Like all Hermitage artists, these fellows work and stay for free, in exchange for sharing their art with the community. This year’s STARs community program will be on Thursday, July 28. Details will be available on the Hermitage website and Facebook page closer to the program date. The STARs program is funded in part by a grant from the Allyn Foundation.

It’s always a special time when we open our facility to the dedicated arts teachers who seldom have the time to work on their own artistic pursuits,” remarked Hermitage Executive Director Bruce E. Rodgers. “We’ve found it to be a time of inspiration, rejuvenation and personal growth for these amazing artists who nine months a year put their own projects on hold to inspire children around the state. We are very proud of this partnership with FAAE, as it lets us play a role in the development of the next generation of artists. When these teachers work on their art, and are appreciated as artists, they tend to bring back a renewed commitment to sharing their gifts in their classrooms.”

This year’s STARs represent schools in five different Florida counties. From the east coast are Adalberto Yanes who teaches Music at Doral Academy Preparatory Charter School in Dade County and Elizabeth Vitale who teaches two-dimensional design at Nova High School in Broward County. Florida’s west coast is represented by Erin Bess who teaches art at Turner/Bartels K-8 School in Hillsborough County and Joy Hawkins, a reading and literature teacher at Buffalo Creek Middle School in Manatee County. North Florida artist Jeff Byers teaches art at Taylor County High School in Taylor County. All are devoted to their craft and their students, and will be taking their residencies seriously.

Adalberto Yanes is looking forward to being inspired, as stated in his application. “To work in an environment that promotes creativity surrounded by nature and other artists would be a wonderful opportunity and an honor.”

Joy Hawkins plans to work on a poetry blog and on an historic novel started years ago about Jenny Wiley, a pioneer woman to whom Hawkins’ is a 7th generation descendant. Elizabeth Vitale is a mixed media artist looking forward to exploring depth perception and free-form shapes, patterns and colors in her work. Jeff Byers wants to explore photography, painting, drawing and ceramics without interruption or distractions and hopes to come away with a renewed energy to create and inspire his students.

Photographer Erin Bess expressed it this way, “By participating in the summer residency program, I hope to create more work as a professional artist, renew my energy and inspiration, and bring both aspects back to the classroom.”

According to Rodgers, “Every year we are inspired when we meet these amazing teachers who work with our children. Arts education opens the door to creative thinking, a skill recognized as important in our face-paced, technology-driven world. Playing just a small part in that development by our STARs program is something of which the Hermitage is very proud.”

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 the Women’s Exchange and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. 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, call 941-475-2098 or visit the website at www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

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