Hermitage Announces STARs Recipients



The Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Florida Alliance for Arts Education has announced the annual summer recipients of the State Teacher Artist Residencies (STARs) to five Florida arts teachers from across the state, including writer Joy Hawkins, reading and literature teacher at Buffalo Creek Middle School in Manatee County. Hawkins and the other four recipients will participate in a 20-day retreat with the Hermitage through the month of July, culminating in a STARs community event on July 28.

Like all visiting artists at the Hermitage, the teachers will stay on the grounds free of charge, where they will find ample time to devote to their solitary pursuits or engage with fellow retreat participants. “It’s always a special time when we open our facility to the dedicated arts teachers who seldom have the time to work on their own artistic pursuits,” said Hermitage Executive Director Bruce Rodgers. “We’ve found it to be a time of inspiration, rejuvenation and personal growth for these amazing artists who nine months a year put their own projects on hold to inspire children around the state.”

In exchange, visiting artists agree to participate in some sort of public art event where the community at large can share in the work being done at the Hermitage. Hawkins hopes to further her poetry and the novel she began writing long ago about her pioneer ancestor.

Other award recipients include music teacher Adalberto Yanes of Doral Academy Preperatory Charter School in Dade County, design teacher Elizabeth Vitale of Nova High School in Broward County and art teachers Jeff Byers of Taylor County High School in Taylor County and Erin Bess of Turner/Bartels K–8 School in Hillsborough County. Says Bess, “By participating in the summer residency program, I hope to create more work as a professional artist, renew my energy and inspiration, and bring both aspects back to the classroom.”

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