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Comments from our STARS regarding their Hermitage experience:

Patricia Cummins, visual artist, Palmetto Elementary, Miami-Dade County
“In the past six years, I have been awarded seven National Park residencies.  I have been sequestered in secluded cabins, hidden in historic park buildings and lake cottages at various National Parks across our country.  Never before have I had an opportunity to share a residency with other artists, which share their love of teaching, as well as the excitement of creative process. To share these gifts at the Hermitage, just a few hours from all of our homes, has been an unforgettable experience.  The STAR residency has offered each one of us a motivational creative learning experience, a time to celebrate and share creativity with other arts educators having similar goals and aspirations.  Our productivity has blossomed as our friendships strengthened.  I would like to thank The Hermitage and FAAE for this amazing opportunity to be honored as a painter, that has taught art for over thirty years.”

Alan Sincic, writer, Osceola School for the Arts, Osceola County
“The best part of this place is not the art emerging, moment by moment, or the richness of the Key that gives rise to it all, but the wonderful collision of all the writers and painters and composers every night up at the “big house,” where we swap stories, share work, and argue about the relative merits of peach versus apple, who’s got the best home-baked pies in town, and whether Emerson and Thoreau could beat Melville and Hawthorne in a three-legged race.  It’s the friendships that make the moment memorable.”

Melissa Pranke, writer, Winter Park High School, Orange County
“My fellowship at the Hermitage has been a most generous gift of time to create and rejuvenate in a spectacular environment. I have been inspired to fill stacks of notebooks with words and stories; but to my surprise, I have realized my greatest gain from this experience has been a rekindling of respect and passion for myself, as an artist and a teacher. The Hermitage, where creativity and compassion are paramount, is a rare gift and should be protected and cherished.”


Andrea Huffman, visual artist, McArthur High School, Broward County
“What an incredible opportunity! As teachers of the Arts, our love and passion for our craft is funneled into nurturing the artist within our many students. Finding the time to nurture and renew our own creativity is an essential part of who we are as artists, and imparts an authenticity to our teaching that is absent from much of today’s data driven approach to education. The Hermitage has afforded us not only time and space but more importantlyinspiration.  From the grandest views of the Gulf of Mexico, to the tiniest creatures, there is no lack of muses to inspire and motivate. Being in the company of like-minded arts educators has provided a support and camaraderie that I cherish and respect.  Every detail provides a wealth of material that I will continue to draw on long after I leave the Hermitage.”

Tim Ostrow, musician, L.A. Ainger Middle School, Charlotte County
“My stay at the Hermitage has allowed me to rediscover my passion for music composition and arranging – something that requires a great deal of time and energy and is rarely afforded teachers today. Both the beautiful Hermitage facility and isolated working environment have given me ample opportunity to compose and arrange undisturbed. I look forward to sharing my experience and work with my community and students.”