ENGLEWOOD — Nelda Thompson has seen a lot of growth being a founding trustee member of the Hermitage Artist Retreat and is thrilled to return to the role.
The Hermitage, located in Manasota Key, announced its 2013-2014 officers of its Board of Trustees, along with five new members.
“It’s been awesome to see the job Bruce Rodgers has done,” Thompson said, referring to the executive director.
The new officers are Ilene Denton, president; Debbi Benedict, vice president; Rebecca Donelson, secretary; and Larry Bold, treasurer. Businessman Steve Adler, banker Matt DePalma, composer Laura Kaminsky, arts patron Susan Samp, and real estate broker Thompson are the trustees.
“When you put a board together, you want to put diverse skill sets so you can have a solid foundation,” said Bruce Rodgers. “We have a governance to develop the board. When you create a matrix of the board, you try to get as much diversity as possible to meet the needs of the organization.”
Rodgers said the Hermitage expanded for more board members. Under the organization’s bylaws, board members are elected to a three-year term.
“We’re going through strategic planning process this year,” he said. “We’re going to look at every aspect of the organization. The board and staff is a partnership and we’re excited and looking forward to the evolving relationship for the organization.”
Artists stay at the Hermitage for no charge but are asked to give free community programs while they are in residence. Artist programs include talks at schools, libraries, community centers and free sunset beach readings.
Denton has been a board member since 2008.
“All four principles (of the Hermitage) really resonate with me: nature creativity, preserve Florida historical sites, protect nature ecology, and serve the gulf coast community,” Denton said. “It’s the Florida I grew up with. We’re lucky to have it. It never ceases to amaze me with the talent that comes to the Hermitage. The Hermitage is a small, but mighty organization.”
Denton touted 70 artists in residence over the past year, one-fifth were local.
“We’re eager to widen our circle of friends and continue providing programs of excellence,” she said. “It’s going to be another year of growth. It’s a very accomplished group of board members and I’m looking forward to working with them to further the goals of the Hermitage.”
It’s something trustee Adler can relate to. His late father, Syd, was involved with the original vision of the Hermitage. Steve has served on the Hermitage board for five months.
“It’s a great honor,” Alder said. “Growing up in Sarasota, which has a great art community, this provides a wonderful opportunity. There is some ideas we’re working to expand on and working with the community. We’re always looking to bring in new teachers from all over the area who happen to be artists. We don’t discriminate on the discipline of international artists we bring in.”