The Hermitage Artist Retreat, along with its partner, the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE), is pleased to announce the State Teachers Artist Residencies (STARs) for 2014. Florida teachers who will be enjoying four weeks at the Hermitage this summer (July 14-August 10) are Joyce Behnke from Davenport, Polk County; Julianne French from Fernandina Beach, Nassau County; (Mary) Beth Garcia from Lakeland, Polk County; Troy Jewell from Orlando, Orange County; and Tim Smith from Ft. Myers, Lee County. All are arts educators in the state of Florida. The time is allotted for these teacher/artists to pursue their personal art, while living in an inspiring environment amongst other artists.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with this year’s selection,” remarked Bruce E. Rodgers, executive director for the Hermitage. “We have three visual arts residencies and two writing residencies. As always, we are thrilled to extend this opportunity to teachers in our state who give of themselves so generously throughout the year.”
Joyce Behnke teaches grades six through eight at Davenport School for the Arts in Polk County. Although she has been teaching visual art for 37 years, she also has a love of writing, a discipline she has had little time for over that period. She recently reconnected with some friends who encouraged her to return to writing and she self-published her first book of short stories in March. She is looking forward to continuing on this journey.
Julianne French teaches Humanities, Art History, Literature and the Arts, and Art Appreciation to gifted students in grades nine through 12 at Fernandina High School in Nassau County. Her personal art form includes mixed media and she wants to explore that this summer incorporating historic Florida architecture into her work. She explains that her “intention is not to illustrate architecture, but to evoke an image that holds a sense of mystery and atmosphere–an image that looks beautiful, and yet is imperfect.”
Beth Garcia teaches grades nine through 12 Drawing, Painting, AP 2D, 3D and Drawing at Harrison School for the Arts in Lakeland, Polk County. Her art form is ceramics and her inspiration is the environment. Since the designs are sculptural, Garcia is hopeful that the eco-conscious environment at the Hermitage will be an amazing source of inspiration for her work.
Tony Jewell teaches English to 10th and 12th graders at Evans High School in Orlando, Orange County. This summer, Jewell plans to return to a novel he began in graduate school. It has already undergone a few transformations, including its length, its setting and the timeframe in which it takes place. He is very grateful to have this block of time to concentrate on the writing and to see where it leads.
Tim Smith is department head and visual art teacher in grades nine through 12 at Cypress Lake Center for the Arts in Ft. Myers, Lee County. His personal artistic inspiration has been greatly influenced by technology and the ability to create large format works. His plan for his residency time is to use digital formats and work on projections as well as create files to be printed, laminated to metal, bent and ready to hang.
“It appears that our summer STARs include five very different and compelling artists who will astound us once again with their art,” continued Rodgers. “The Hermitage believes in the importance of arts education and its ability to inspire creativity in students. If we can inspire that same creative thinking in our teachers, before sending them back to the classroom, we have done something very important. We look forward to meeting our STARs and helping them to make the best of their Hermitage residencies.”
Mark your calendar for Friday August 8th at 6:00 pm for an open house and beach reading at the Hermitage. You can meet the STARs and see their work. Bring your beach chair and refreshments and enjoy a wonderful evening of art and artists, which ends at sunset. For more information visit the website www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org or call