The Hermitage Beach provides a unique venue for performers and audiences to immerse themselves in the arts.

The Hermitage Artist Retreat is one of the nation’s earliest adapters to offer a safe new model for live events and performance during the pandemic. The organization resumed its acclaimed artist residency program in June with new safety protocols in place, providing a safe and inspiring space to create for accomplished and diverse leading artists from across the globe, spanning theater, music, literature, visual art, and more.

The Hermitage resumed its in-person programs and events in early October at venues throughout Sarasota County, including Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Historic Spanish Point, The Ringling Museum, and on the Hermitage Beach, in addition to its ongoing virtual programming, which is available to audiences around the country. Over the past few months, the Hermitage has dramatically increased its artist program offerings, safely and successfully presenting more than two dozen unique in-person programs and implementing strict social distancing policies at outdoor-only venues, accommodating audiences ranging from 100 to 200 who regularly provide feedback on the Hermitage’s health and safety protocols.

The Hermitage Artist Retreat performance series at Selby Gardens

“By doing this, we’ve been able to engage local audiences—and give a rare and empowering opportunity to dozens of performers, musicians, visual artists, writers, teaching artists, and more to share their talents and their works-in-progress with Sarasota audiences,” says Andy Sandberg, the Hermitage’s artistic director and CEO.

“We are fortunate in that we are not limited by production values or the technical requirements of indoor spaces. What we offer is a unique look into the creative process and early development of work by notable artists from around the world. Therefore, we feel it is our responsibility and an opportunity to provide both artists and audiences a safe and inspiring way to gather and experience the arts.”

Social distancing on the sand on the Hermitage Beach

Hermitage artists and audiences alike have noted that these experiences have been a highlight and an escape from the pandemic while many of their regular arts and cultural offerings have been put on hold or limited to online-only programming. “It has been quite emotional and inspiring for these artists to be outdoors in front of a live audience for the first time in many months, and our community has been equally appreciative of these experiences,” adds Sandberg.

Watch for a newly added event later this month!

Events on the Hermitage Beach continue this month.

Wednesday, March 31, 5:30 p.m.

“Storied Stories of the Creative Process” with Michael Riedel and Robert Plunket. Longtime columnist for The New York Post, host of “Theatre Talk” on PBS, and celebrated author Michael Riedel, along with Sarasota’s own “Mr. Chatterbox,” Robert Plunket, will share candid and colorful stories of famed artistic projects in early development. Moderated by Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. On the Hermitage Beach, 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood; also available via Live-Stream. Registration required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

For more information about these programs and the Hermitage Artist Retreat, visit HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

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