New group of Hermitage STARs to present free program

The latest Hermitage STARs will greet the public in programs on Aug. 10 on Manasota Key. Contributed photo

The five latest winners of the Hermitage Artist Retreat’s State Teachers’ Artist Residency (STAR) will present a free public program on Friday, Aug. 10, at the Hermitage’s campus on the Gulf of Mexico on Manasota Key, 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood.

The planned program will begin at 6:30 p.m. with open studios and house tours. At 7:30 p.m., a variety of beach readings will be offered, followed — organizers hope — “by mother nature’s dramatic sunset at 8:15,” a news release says.

“Visitors are reminded to bring their beach chairs and refreshments to enjoy as they listen to the artists read from their work. Questions for the artists will follow,” the release says.

“Our second group of STARs are here and enjoying a four-week journey back to their artistic roots,” Hermitage Executive Director Bruce E. Rodgers said in the news release.

“The Hermitage is very pleased to be able to extend this gift of time and space to all Florida arts educators. Over the past couple of years, we have come to appreciate how important it is for these teachers to reignite their creative spirits by spending time in our beautiful setting just being artists.”

Hosting the open studios at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 will be visual artists Donna Haynes, a high school teacher from J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs, and Freddie Rosa, who teaches students in grades K-8 in the Miami-Dade school district.

At 7:30 p.m., attention will shift to the beach in front of the campus, where three resident artists will read from their work: playwright Reid Conrad, who teaches theater at University High School in Orange City; writer/poet Pamela Janecki, who teaches journalism and stagecraft at Orange Grove Middle School of the Arts in Tampa; and Teryle Traver, who is the drama director at H.B. Plant High School in Tampa.

“Once again, we have five very talented and motivated artists excited to use their talents to make art,” Rodgers continued. “We look forward to having the public meet them, see and hear their work and get a better understanding about what happens at an artist retreat when artists come together in an inspiring location with no demands or expectations but all the freedom to be who they are.”

The Hermitage is a not-for-profit retreat that brings accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for extended stays on its 8.5-acre campus. Each artist is asked to contribute two acts of community service during his or her stay.

So far, Hermitage artists have touched more than 8,000 Gulf Coast community children and adults “with their unique and inspiring programs,” the news release says.

For more information about the STARs open studio and beach reading or The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098 or visit the website at