Hermitage Announces 2023 STARs Florida State Teacher Artist Residency Special Program July 14

These educators and artists recognized from across the State of Florida will present a family-friendly showcase of their work on Friday, July 14th at the Hermitage.

By: Jun. 07, 2023
Hermitage Announces 2023 STARs Florida State Teacher Artist Residency Special Program July 14

Hermitage Announces 2023 STARs Florida State Teacher Artist Residency Special Program July 14

Five Florida public school arts teachers will spend part of their summer on Manasota Key while working on their own artistic endeavors. They are the winners of the 2023 State Teachers Artist Residency program (STARs) – now in its thirteenth year – presented by the Hermitage Artist Retreat in partnership with the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE).

This year's recipients were selected from dozens of impressive applicants, and the five teachers selected from across the State of Florida include three visual arts educators working in different mediums, a music teacher and electronic musician, and an artist/educator working across disciplines to illustrate an original novel. The five receive a residency at the nationally renowned Hermitage Artist Retreat, where they can focus on their own work as creative artists. These five teaching artists will present a family-friendly showcase of their work on Friday, July 14th starting at 1pm.

This special event will be held outdoors at the Hermitage's beachfront campus on Manasota Key; entrance at 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood, FL 34223. The program is presented in partnership with the Englewood YMCA. In addition to the students and families attending from the YMCA, this Hermitage community program will be free and open to the public with a $5/person registration fee. Due to capacity limitations and safety protocols, registration is required at Click Here.

“These exceptional educators are also talented artists and creative minds in their own right,” says Andy Sandberg, Artistic Director and CEO of the Hermitage. “During the academic year, their attention is devoted entirely to their students, and this has been a particularly challenging couple of years for educators throughout the State of Florida. The STARs program offers five distinguished teachers the opportunity to experience what leading artists from around the world have come to the Hermitage for – to focus on their craft, their art, and their creative process. Over the years, the STARs have created some truly stunning works of art, music, theater, dance, and literature during their time at the Hermitage. Many Hermitage teaching artist alumni have shared that this program enables them to return to their students with a new fire and passion for arts education.” 

The five recipients of this honor, selected among dozens of impressive applicants, include: Jeffrey Brown, a keyboard instructor at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando (Orange County); James Finch, a visual arts instructor at West Shore Jr/Sr High School in Melbourne (Brevard County); Katherine Gebhart, an art instructor at Jerry Thomas Elementary School in Jupiter (Palm Beach County); Omar Otero, a photography and painting instructor at Hagerty High School in Oviedo (Seminole County); and Rachael Pongetti, a visual art instructor at the Escambia High School in Pensacola (Escambia County). Full bios are included below.

Since the start of the Hermitage STARs program in 2011, 62 teachers have represented over 30 Florida counties. These prestigious residencies culminate with a free community program, this year hosted in partnership with the Englewood YMCA. 

“We are looking forward to partnering with the Hermitage to offer this special opportunity to our YMCA community,” said Gene T. Jones, President & CEO of the YMCA of Southwest Florida. “The Hermitage inspires creative minds to achieve their greatest potential, and we're excited to share this excellent summer program with our YMCA youth and families.”

The STARs program is one of the only Hermitage residency programs open to application; arts educators from schools throughout the State of Florida are eligible, including music, theater, visual art, dance, and creative writing teachers. For more information about the Hermitage STARs program and how to apply, Florida arts educators are encouraged to visit FAAE.org.

“We look forward to seeing what this newest class of Hermitage STARs will create,” says Sandberg. “It is an honor to celebrate Florida's leading arts educators, and we are grateful to the Florida Alliance for Arts Education for their continued partnership. We are also looking forward to this upcoming collaboration with our friends at the YMCA as we share the STARs talents with the members of our community and the next generation.”

For more information on the Hermitage and upcoming Hermitage programs, please visit HermitageArtistRetreat.org.




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