The Hermitage Artist Retreat, along with its partner the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE) are proud to announce the winners of its State Teachers Artist Residencies (STARs) for 2017

Comment Off 52 Views

Hermitage STARs Announced for 2017

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, along with its partner the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE) are proud to announce the winners of its State Teachers Artist Residencies (STARs) for 2017. They are Brian Capley, a creative writing teacher from Osceola County School for the Arts (Osceola Cty.); Jennifer Gironda, visual arts teacher at Lake Worth High School (Palm Beach Cty.); Kathleen Holt, visual arts teacher from Seminole High School (Seminole Cty.); Gerald Obregon, visual arts teacher at Arthur & Molly Mays Conservatory of the Arts (Miami-Dade Cty.) and Sandra Stiles, creative writing teacher at Louise R. Johnson Middle School for International Studies (Manatee Cty.). The STARs program takes place in the summer and allows Florida Arts Educators to apply for artist residencies, through FAAE, in order to pursue their own art. Applications are open to all Florida arts teachers in music, visual art and creative writing. Since the beginning of the program in 2011, 35 STARs have represented 19 Florida counties. Residencies last for three weeks and culminate with a free community program on the Hermitage campus, 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood. This year’s program is scheduled for Friday, July 28 at 7:00 p.m.

“The Hermitage is so proud of this program,” remarked Bruce E. Rodgers, Hermitage executive director. “Arts teachers are artists who are challenged to find time to pursue their craft. Our STAR program gives them the rare opportunity to live among artists as artists themselves and work on their art. No papers to grade, no curriculum to plan or implement. They leave our environment feeling appreciated and energized and these benefits go back with them into their classrooms. We look forward to seeing what this latest group of STARs will create.”

Brian Capley is Director of Creative Writing at Osceola County School for the Arts, where he has taught since 2013. During his residency, Capley plans to work on a collection of poetry titled Reclamation, exploring his personal journey to understand, restore and reclaim his self. Jennifer Gironda teaches art at Lake Worth High School. She received her under graduate and graduate degrees in Art Education and Textiles from East Carolina University. In addition to teaching Gironda is a contributor and Digital Media Director for Art Hive Magazine. Committed to her art, she has made one piece of art every day since January 1, 2012. She has exhibited in many group and solo shows, including a retrospective of her first five years of daily art.

Kathleen Holt is a visual artist teaching at Seminole High School. Her passion is in portraiture but also finds inspiration from animals and the landscape around her. During her residency, she plans to prepare natural dyes and work on a quilt with references to California and its vastly diverse landscape. Gerald Obregron is a landscape artist, whose pieces depict anything from a scenic location to a detailed, individual plant. He likes to work from photography but also plans to use his residency to do plein air painting on the Hermitage grounds. His work has been exhibited in Florida, as well as North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia and Colorado.

Lastly is Sandra Stiles, a middle school language arts teacher in Manatee County. She loves to challenge her students and encourages them to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which takes place in November. Several of her students have been published, both in anthologies and one published a book as a result of this project. During her residency, Stiles plans to work on several works in progress, which she will share with the community on July 28th.

“It is a great privilege to have these fine educators come and be inspired by our Hermitage surroundings as well as each other,” continued Rodgers. “The Hermitage is proud to be able to offer this gift of time and space to artists who give so generously of themselves during the school year.”

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 interact with 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 Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of Arts and Culture and the State of Florida (Section 286.25, Florida Statutes). 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, ext. 5, or visit the website at



Notes from the STARs

July 28 Hermitage Artist Retreat FREE Community Program

6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood

Open studios beginning at 7:00 pm followed by readings on the beach.

Please bring white t-shirts to dye at the open studio, beach chairs and any refreshments to enjoy during the beach reading.

Three open Studios include work by Visual Artists Gerald Obregon, Kathleen Holt and Jennifer Gironda. Jennifer and Kathleen also plan to work together demonstrating the Japanese shibori technique of dying fabric.. Visitors are invited to bring a white t-shirt or scrap of white fabric (prewashed will yield better results) to give it a try.

Visual Artist Gerald Obregon will hold an open studio, featuring his landscape paintings, including some plein air done during his residency.

Beach readings will include Creative Writer Sandra Stiles reading from her work in progress, currently titled, “Leaving Behind Our Walls. The following is the book blurb: While visiting the Intrepid Museum in NYC, Hannah Phillips finds herself in front of a section of the Berlin Wall, covered in original graffiti.  Unfamiliar with its significance, she touches it and refers to it as a piece of useless, ugly junk.  A single brush of her fingers across its surface and Hannah finds herself in 1985 East Berlin.  How will she survive?  More importantly, how will she get back to her own time?

Joining her will be Brian Capley, who will share his work on a collection of poetry titled Reclamation, where he is exploring his personal journey to understand, restore and reclaim himself.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Editor of Media website.
Free Newsletter Updated Daily