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The Hermitage Artist Retreat Announces WORDS AND MUSIC: PERFORMANCE IN PROCESS


These unique and extraordinary performing artists will share their words, voices, and music at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in downtown Sarasota.

The Hermitage Artist Retreat Announces WORDS AND MUSIC: PERFORMANCE IN PROCESS

The Hermitage Artist Retreat presents the newest edition of Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens: "Words and Music: Performance in Process" with Hermitage Fellows Thea Lobo and Ni'Ja Whitson, who will share their words, voices and music, Friday, August 27, 6:30 p.m., Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 1534 Mound St, Sarasota. The event is free with a $5 per person registration fee. Registration is required at

Hermitage Fellow, Creative Capital and "Bessie" award winner, gender nonconforming/astral transmogrifier, interdisciplinary artist and writer, Ni'Ja Whitson, has been referred to as "majestic" and "magnetic" by The New York Times and is recognized by Brooklyn Magazine as a culture influencer. Whitson is a 2018 MAP Fund recipient, featured choreographer of the 2018 CCA Biennial, and 2018-2020 UBW Choreographic Center Fellow. Whitson has been a student and practitioner of indigenous African ritual and resistance forms for two decades, creating work that reflects the sacred in street, conceptual, and interdisciplinary performance. They engage a nexus of postmodern and African Diasporic performance practices, through a critical intersection of gender, sexuality, race, and spirituality. A noted innovating practitioner of the Theatrical Jazz Aesthetic and accomplished improviser, Whitson performs nationally with renowned musicians and enjoys a close collaborative partnership with Douglas Ewart of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians nominations including Outstanding Production, Outstanding Design (of which Ni'Ja was co-costume designer) and Outstanding Performance (Kirsten Davis).

Hermitage Fellow and Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano Thea Lobo has been hailed as "excellent," "impeccable," "limpidly beautiful," "impressive," "stunning," and "Boston's best." Lobo's 2020-21 season has included performances with The Spectrum Singers, Great Music in a Great Space Series, USF New Music Festival, The Sarasota-Manatee Bach Festival, EnsembleNewSRQ, Emmanuel Music, and others. Lobo's dedication to new music, art song, and early music has seen her featured on True Concord's 2016 Grammy-winning recording of Stephen Paulus's "Prayers & Remembrances," invited to the Carmel Bach Festival as an Adams Fellow, a prizewinner at the Bach Vocal Competition for American Singers, a grant recipient of the Julian Autrey Song Foundation, a winner of the St. Botolph Club Emerging Artist Award, premiere-recording new roles with Guerilla Opera, and performing as a soloist under the direction of composers Steve Reich, Vinko Globokar, Fred Lerdahl, Christian Wolff, and Louis Andriessen. A graduate of New England Conservatory and Boston University, Lobo now serves as artistic and executive director of the initiative Indictus Project, which promotes the classical music of women, minorities, and other marginalized composers throughout history.

Previously Announced:

Friday, July 30, 6:30 p.m.: "Music Elevating the Soul" Join two of the nation's leading and most versatile musicians-celebrated pianist and composer Courtney Bryan and renowned harpist Ashley Jackson-as they share their original work and speak about their creative process on the beach at the Hermitage. Free with $5/person registration fee. Ashley Jackson's Hermitage residency is generously sponsored by The Ruby E. & Carole Crosby Family Foundation.

Friday, August 6, 6:30 p.m.: "Artists in Conversation: Identity in Art." In a collaboration between the Hermitage Artist Retreat and Art Center Sarasota, two acclaimed visual artists and Hermitage Fellows from across the United States -interdisciplinary artist Autumn Knight and figurative artist Robert Pruitt - offer an intimate and candid discussion about their creative process in this artist-in-conversation program at the Hermitage beach. Free with $5/person registration fee.

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 visual art, theater, music, literature, and more. As part of their residencies, Hermitage Fellows participate in free community programs, offering audiences in our 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, interactive experiences, readings, open studios, school programs, teacher workshops, and more, serving thousands in our regional community each year.

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