The Hermitage Announces a Special Benefit Concert for Ongoing Hurricane Repairs

The Giving Coast

Pictured: Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. Courtesy of The Hermitage Artist Retreat.

The Hermitage Artist Retreat (Sarasota County, Florida) announced a one-night-only benefit concert to celebrate the 20th anniversary season of the Hermitage and to raise funds for ongoing repairs following the impact of Hurricane Ian earlier this season. On Monday, March 20th at 7:30pm, Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg returns to his roots as a performer to sing this benefit concert at Sarasota’s iconic Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Sandberg – a director, writer, performer, and Tony Award-winning producer – will be joined on stage by Broadway guest stars (to be announced at a later date) and accompanied by Hermitage Fellow and 2023 Grammy Award nominee Rona Siddiqui.

While so many in our region suffered tremendous loss as a result of Hurricane Ian, Sandberg and his team feel incredibly fortunate that the Hermitage was spared a worse outcome. However, their historic buildings (as well as their administrative building down the road) did incur significant wind and water damages. “We have been working through our repairs, and I’m proud to say that we were able to resume residencies and programs within a few weeks of Hurricane Ian, but the truth is that some of our quick fixes have been ‘band-aids’ where stitches or surgery are still needed,” said Sandberg. “Many of the buildings still have tarps on the roofs, and historic waterfront buildings are not as simple to ‘patch up.’ It’s an ongoing process, and we are also looking for ways to better protect the Hermitage’s historic campus and ecological grounds from future weather emergencies. Many of our constituents assumed expenses like these would fall to the county or to insurance, but there are hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct costs to the organization.”

As Artistic Director of the Hermitage, Sandberg spends the majority of his time championing leading artists and performers who are developing new work. “It’s been many years since I’ve performed a concert of this scale, and I cannot think of a better cause than supporting this organization I love so dearly,” said Sandberg. “I am incredibly proud of the work our team has been doing to keep the Hermitage driving forward in the months following Hurricane Ian, and I am certainly not above singing for our supper, quite literally!”

Sandberg hopes this concert will be a fun way to introduce many new friends to the Hermitage. Thanks to their generous underwriters, they’ve been able to keep ticket prices for this event more affordable, even though it is a fundraiser. Tickets start as low as $25, and every dollar raised from this event will be a dollar of direct support. (Additional price points are available at $50 and $75, with a premium ticket available at $250).

“We do not want this concert to ‘compete’ with our large spring gala, the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner, which will be held this year on Sunday, April 16th at The Ringling Museum. Those ticket packages range from $1,250 to $10,000. Both will be fantastic evenings, but we recognize not all of our constituents and arts lovers in our community can afford a $1,000 price point. Our hope with this concert on March 20th is to encourage as many who are able to attend – and hopefully it will inspire attendees to learn more about the Hermitage and start attending our free programs throughout Sarasota County, featuring some of the world’s leading artists and performances," said Sandberg.  "This concert is more of an ‘un-gala’ – it’s an evening of Broadway music to benefit a good cause!”

Tickets are available at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall box office, 777 N., Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; by calling (941) 263-6799; or online at HermitageArtistRetreat.org and VanWezel.org. For more information about the Hermitage, this benefit concert, and other upcoming Hermitage programs, visit HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

Pictured: Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. Courtesy of The Hermitage Artist Retreat.

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