Hermitage Announces Second Year of “Cross Arts Collaborative” in Support of Sarasota Artists and Performing Arts Institutions 

The partners for this year's initiative are Asolo Repertory Theatre and Sarasota Contemporary Dance.

By: May. 24, 2023

Hermitage Announces Second Year of “Cross Arts Collaborative” in Support of Sarasota Artists and Performing Arts Institutions 

The Hermitage Artist Retreat has announced the continuation of the Sarasota Cross Arts Collaborative, made possible once more with generous support from the Koski Family Foundation. This initiative is designed to give frequent performers and company members from leading Sarasota arts organizations a chance to expand their artistic practice from 'performer' to 'creator.'

As with the inaugural year, the Hermitage is awarding Cross Arts Collaborative residencies to artists from two selected partner institutions. This program is designed to inspire and encourage generative work created by some of the best and brightest in our vibrant performing arts community. Artists are invited by their respective organizations to submit proposals for consideration; finalists are then submitted to the Hermitage for consideration, and recipients are selected in consultation with current or past members of the Hermitage National Curatorial Council. Recipients will receive two weeks of uninterrupted time at the Hermitage Artist Retreat this summer to develop a new generative project, and the work will then be shared with the Sarasota community in a free public program this fall. 

In the second season of the Hermitage's Cross Arts Collaborative, this distinguished honor has been awarded to Lizzie Hagstedt, a musician, soundscape designer, and frequent collaborator with Asolo Repertory Theatre, and Jessica Obiedzinski, a dancer and longstanding company member of Sarasota Contemporary Dance. 

The inaugural season of the Hermitage Cross Arts Collaborative offered this opportunity to Derric Gobourne, Jr., of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and Tsebiyah Mishael Derry through Florida Studio Theatre. Gobourne, known to Sarasota audiences from many roles with WBTT such as Little Stevie Wonder in their production of The Best of Stevie, used his time at the Hermitage to create a music video for his original music as well as author a children's book, and Derry, who has previously worked with FST as a performer, used her time to write original songs and poetry to serve as the foundation of an album. They showcased the fruits of their residencies in a full-capacity program on WBTT's rooftop in November. 

While the Hermitage's nationally renowned residency program brings leading artists from across the country and around the world to create work on its beachfront Manasota Key campus, the Hermitage also seeks to enrich the incredible and growing arts scene in Sarasota, as showcased by performing arts institutions such as Sarasota Contemporary Dance and Asolo Repertory Theatre

“We want to offer this one-of-a-kind opportunity to some of the leading artists in Sarasota, by creating space for a talented performer to focus on being a generative artist,” said Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “We know there are actors, dancers, musicians, and performing artists working amidst our circle of frequent collaborators who have passion projects waiting in the wings. This could be an actor writing a play between production contracts, a violinist composing a symphony after rehearsals, a dancer yearning to expand into the choreographer's space – or someone looking to work across an entirely new genre. This residency is designed for an artist who is hungry to expand their creative practice and explore a new 'hat' within the arts and entertainment space.” Sandberg added that the Cross Arts Collaborative initiative would not be possible without the generous support of the Koski Family Foundation, longtime supporters and champions of the Hermitage.

"We are thrilled to be continuing our longstanding collaboration with the Hermitage,” said Peter Rothstein, incoming Artistic Director of Asolo Repertory Theatre. “This Cross Arts Collaborative is a meaningful initiative providing an opportunity to support the artists who consider the Asolo a creative home.” Lizzie Hagstedt, the selected artist from Asolo Repertory Theatre, may be familiar to Sarasota audiences from her original compositions in Lifespan of a Fact, as well as an early sampling of her original musical “Sophie Blanchard's High-Flyin' Rock'n'Roll Extravaganza,” featured online in 2021 as part of the Asolo's “Ground Floor Series: Making Musicals.” As part of her time at the Hermitage, Hagstedt plans to further develop the full version of this show, an all-femme actor/musician story about the life and pyrotechnic death of 19th-Century aeronaut Sophie Blanchard.

Jessica Obiedzinski, the selected performer from Sarasota Contemporary Dance (SCD), will use the time to develop and choreograph a solo dance piece focused on the physical impact trauma has on the body. “SCD is honored to be a part of the Hermitage Cross Arts Collaborative, offering a unique opportunity to create for our very own company member,” noted SCD Founder and Artistic Director Leymis Wilmott. “Jessica's persistence and dedication to her dance and healing practice is a daily-lived experience. As a dance maker, she continues to be interested in the effects of emotional trauma and how that is embodied. This opportunity is encouraging Jessica to go deeper into her research and choreographic practice, and I am so excited for her and where this launchpad experience might propel her work next.” 

After their time in residence, the Hermitage will collaborate with the selected partner institutions to bring a public program to the Sarasota community to highlight Jessica and Lizzie's work. Details about this year's event will be announced at a later date. 

The Hermitage is a leading national arts incubator and the only major arts organization in Florida's Gulf Coast region exclusively committed to supporting the development and creation of new work across all artistic disciplines. The Hermitage hosts artists on its Gulf Coast Manasota Key campus for multi-week residencies, where diverse artists from around the world and across multiple disciplines create and develop new works of theater, music, visual art, literature, dance, and more. As part of their residencies, Hermitage Fellows participate in free community programs, offering audiences in the region a unique opportunity to engage with some of the world's leading artists and to get an authentic “sneak peek” into extraordinary projects and artistic minds before their works go on to major galleries, concert halls, theaters, and museums around the world. These free and innovative programs include performances, lectures, readings, interactive experiences, open studios, school programs, teacher workshops, and more, serving thousands in our regional community each year.

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


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