The Hermitage Artist Retreat is pleased to present the work of two artists in residence on Friday, January 13, 2017 beginning at 4:00 pm in the Hermitage Palm House, 6630 Manasota Key Road, Englewood, and ending with a beach sunset at 6:00

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The Hermitage Artist Retreat is pleased to present the work of two artists in residence on Friday, January 13, 2017 beginning at 4:00 pm in the Hermitage Palm House, 6630 Manasota Key Road, Englewood, and ending with a beach sunset at 6:00. The first free community program of 2017 will feature Visual Artist Michele Beck and Composer Thomas Kotcheff. Beck will talk about her recently completed documentary My Erotic Body.  Inspired by her own experience taking classes at a pole-dancing studio, the film explores what happens to erotic dance when there are no men, and women take control of their bodies. Michele will also discuss her previous work and how her preoccupation with video and performance led her to the unlikely subject of pole dancing. Kotcheff, winner of the 2014 Hermitage Prize at the Aspen Music Festival and School, holds degrees in composition and piano performance and will share some of his music during the program. Space is limited so reservations are required. Please call 941-475-2098, extension 8 or email [email protected]. Anyone unable to attend can still enjoy the event, as it will be live-streamed on the Hermitage Facebook page. Any questions, please call Holly at 941-475-2098, ext. 5.

‘We are very excited to feature these two talented artists for our first program of 2017,” remarked Executive Director Bruce E. Rodgers. “Having the Palm House facility for public programs allows us to easily show video of artist’s work. We also have an exemplary piano in the great room which can be used for these occasions. Having these wonderful artists share their work in this intimate space will be very special.”

Michele Beck’s video and performance art creates projects that take the form of multi-channel video/sound installations and experimental documentary.  Her work has been exhibited at venues including: The ICA in London, Galerie Chez Valentin in Paris, The Bronx Museum, The Queens Museum, PS122, San Francisco Cameraworks, Recontre Internationales, Paris, Inport Video-Performance Festival in Estonia, LA Freewaves and the Kassler Dokumentarfilm und Videofest in Kasel, Germany. She is a recipient of grants from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the New York Foundation for the Arts as well as residencies at Yaddo.  Michele received a BA from New York University and MFA from Parsons School of Design. She is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at the New School.

The music of Thomas Kotcheff, a native of Los Angeles, has been described as “truly beautiful and inspired” ( and “explosive” (Gramophone magazine), and his music has been performed internationally by The Riot Ensemble, Sandbox Percussion, Trio Appassionata, the Argus Quartet, USC Thornton Edge, HOCKET, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. In addition to the Hermitage Prize, Kotcheff has received awards and honors from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Presser Foundation, the Aspen Summer Music Festival, BMI, the National Association of Composers USA, the American Composers Forum, and has been a composition fellow at the Aspen Summer Music Festival and School, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the Bennington Chamber Music Conference. He holds degrees in composition and piano performance from the Peabody Institute and the University of Southern California, where he is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Music in composition.

The Hermitage is very grateful to our artists who are always generous in presenting their work to our community,” continued Rodgers. “Although the beach can accommodate more people, the Palm House allows us to provide programs that would otherwise not be possible. Having a noted composer play on our Beckstein piano or a videographer share her work in an appropriate space, extends what we can offer the public. In the new year we are adding live-streaming of these programs, and hope to reach even more people interested in hearing and seeing our artists. A new year, new technology and new art are lots to look forward to in 2017.”

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, call 941-475-2098, ext. 5, or visit the website at

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