The Hermitage Artist Retreat will have two beach events during the month of June when artists and their families are in residency; The dates are Fridays, June 12 and June 26

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The Hermitage Artist Retreat will have two beach events during the month of June when artists and their families are in residency. The public is invited to visit the waterfront campus, 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, see artist studios and enjoy music and poetry on the beach by these visiting artists. The dates are Fridays, June 12 and June 26. Events begin with open studios at 7:00 pm, followed by a program on the beach at 8:00, and ending with the sunset at 8:25. Hermitage beach programs are free but attendees are requested to bring their beach chairs and any refreshments they choose to enjoy. In case of questionable weather, check the Hermitage Facebook page or call 941-475-2098, after 3:00 pm, for information regarding weather cancellation.

“Our two June beach events are two weeks apart giving local residents the chance to visit us during the busy summer vacation time,” remarked Bruce Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage. “So many people live here year ‘round but plan vacations in the summer. With new artists scheduled throughout June, it seemed like a good idea to offer two opportunities to meet our Fellows and enjoy their work. Hopefully, those planning to be out of town will be here for at least one of the programs.”

On June 12th, an open studio will be presented by Kukuli Velarde, known for her drawings, paintings, video and ceramic work. She was born in Peru and moved to the United States as an adult. She received her BFA from Hunter College and presently lives and works in Philadelphia. She has exhibited around the world, including Peru, France, Ireland, Germany, Taiwan and in many locations throughout the United States. Among her many awards are the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Franz and Virginia Bader Fund Grant, a Grand Prize from Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale in Icheon, South Korea, a PEW Fellowship recipient and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant Sculpture Award.

At 8:00 the beach program will feature music by British/American composer Oscar Bettison. Bettison’s work has been described as unconventional, unique and with menacing beauty. Recent commissions include Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Tanglewood Music Center, the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the New York Philharmonic for their 2014 biennial. He is also the recipient of numerous prizes and awards.

June 26th will feature an open studio with sculptor and painter Jason Middlebrook. Middlebrook received his BA in Fine Arts from University of California, Santa Cruz and his MFA from San Francisco Art Institute. He has also studied in New York and Stockholm, Sweden. His work has also been exhibited throughout the United States and around the world, including Sweden, El Salvador, Italy and Greece. His work is featured in many corporate collections and museums.

The 8:00 beach program will feature poetry readings by Michael Dumanis and Monica Ferrell. Dumanis is an American poet, professor and editor of poetry. His first collection My Soviet Union won the Juniper Prize for poetry. His work has appeared in many literary journals and he has published many anthologies. He received his BA from John Hopkins and MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He teaches at Bennington College. Monica Ferrell was born in New Delhi and is a poet and novelist. She received her BA at Harvard and MFA from Columbia. Her first book of poetry, Beasts for the Chase, won the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize. Her novel The Answer Is Always Yes was named a Borders Original Voices selection and was one of Booklist’s top ten first novels in 2008. Presently, she teaches creative writing at SUNY-Purchase. The poets were married in June, 2013, and live in Brooklyn. Their courtship and wedding were featured in The New York Times.

“Count on two extraordinary evenings at the Hermitage in June,” continued Rodgers. “Hope you’ll come out and enjoy the art, music, and poetry, along with Mother Nature’s sunset. What could be better?”

All Hermitage community programs are partially sponsored by the Women’s Exchange and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. This month’s programs have been additionally supported by the Sustainable Arts Foundation, which supports the family residencies accommodated in the month of June.

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