ENGLEWOOD — The Hermitage Artist Retreat raised more than $225,000 at the 2021 Artful Lobster luncheon, held Nov. 13.

Now in its 13th year, the Artful Lobster raises valuable funds for the Hermitage’s renowned artist residency program and community programming initiatives.

Amidst limited capacity and added safety precautions, 200 guests attended the sold-out event, which took place outdoors beneath a large tent on the Hermitage’s historic beachfront campus on Englewood’s Manasota Key. The event was co-chaired by Charlie Huisking and Charlotte Perret, with Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg as master of ceremonies.

Dorothy Lawson, a Hermitage Fellow and founding cellist and artistic director of the genre-bending string quartet ETHEL, headlined the event with a virtuosic cello performance and tales of her time at the Hermitage. She was introduced by Terrance McKnight, evening host of WQXR New York Public Radio and a member of the Hermitage National Curatorial Council.

Lawson played an original song from a full-length musical experience that she and her fellow ETHEL musicians created during their Hermitage residency.

To celebrate the Hermitage’s free community programs and collaborations, Raleigh Mosely II, a friend of the Hermitage and frequent performer with the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, powerfully delivered an original song written by musical theater composer and Hermitage Fellow Rona Siddiqui.

Following lunch, Lawson returned to the stage to perform her interpretation of a piece by Bach, which she dedicated to the memory of the late Susan Brainerd, a recent Hermitage trustee who sponsored Lawson’s last visit to the Hermitage earlier this year.

“When Bach composed his cello suites, nobody was writing that kind of music – it was brand new,” said Terrance McKnight as he introduced Lawson and shared his perspective on the role of the Hermitage.

“Great music, great art, great theater, great literature, great television – none of this happens without great artists,” added Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Sandberg.

The Hermitage hosts artists on its Gulf Coast Manasota Key campus for multi-week residencies. Hermitage Fellows participate in free community programs. For more information, visit HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

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