Monday, November 21, 2011

Hermitage Artist Retreat's Artful Lobster

My day started off with a fever of 101 and a coughing fit, but ended in a glorious, lobster-filled success!  Last Saturday afternoon was The Hermitage Artist Retreat's Artful Lobster and I was the chair for the third year in  a row.  I absolutely love this event and love this organization, of which I am also on the board.  I was sick as a dog on Saturday, but the show must go on and it did beautifully.  My committee and the Hermitage staff were fabulous as always and even sent me into the Hermitage House to lie down and sleep an hour before the event started at 11 AM (which I did, that's how sick I was).  I think they actually just wanted to get me and my germs away from them as quickly as possible.

Being on the historic Hermitage 8.5-acre campus right on the gulf at Manasota Key is a magical experience.  It is not open to the public and is only used as an artist retreat, so being able to enjoy its treasures for the day is a special treat.  Guests checked in, toured the historic artist residences and studio spaces, mingled with other guests and current artists in residences Mala Iqbal, Erik Sanko and Jessica Grindstaff, perused the silent auction items - baskets with values up to $1400 - and enjoyed the sounds of the Michael Ross Jazz Ensemble.

At noon, guests were seated and treated to a magnificent concert by renowned cellist, Michael Fitzpatrick.  You could have heard a pin drop, except for the brilliance of his playing.  His performance was magnetic! Imagine being on the lawn, under the soaring tent, with the gulf luxuriously lapping on the shoreline in front of you, with the very handsome, Michael, playing classical favorites, with the gentle breeze blowing over you.  Everyone, just sigh, it was so beautiful.  On top of it all, guests each received a CD of his music which was created while he was in residence at the Hermitage a few years ago.  Now THAT'S what I call a party favor!

The lobster buffet opened immediately thereafter and Michael's On East, with darling Henry at the helm, and Douglas and Connie helping, once again outdid themselves.  There are always plenty of smiling faces and full tummies when MOE is serving!

Larry Bold, HAR Board President and Bruce Rodgers, Executive Director took the stage to pay tribute to the Tom Dignam Family who recently created a Facilities Endowment Fund for the Hermitage with a $100,000 donation.  At that time, I was also presented a charming painting by Barbara Coy of the Hermitage House.  I will treasure it.

Then is was time for the Live Auction.  Scott Anderson was scheduled to be our auctioneer until just a few days ago when he had to have emergency surgery for a detached retina.  I was going to sub for him, until it became painfully clear to me that in my state of illness, there was no way that was going to happen - and I wouldn't allow myself to give up until truly about 15 minutes before the start of the auction.  My dear friend, Veronica Brady graciously stepped up and performed the auctioneer duties with ease and grace beside Bruce.  They were quite a winning team and did a flawless job!  At the end of the auction, a very quick paddle raise was conducted and almost $16,000 was raised in just minutes to be added to the Facilities Endowment Fund - yay!

Everyone gradually left in an euphoric haze of happiness, including myself, but I must admit, mine might have also been a bit medicinally induced!

Other than those mentioned above or pictured below, those seen were Julia and Dick Hyman, Dr. Larry Thompson, Ina Schnell, Dr. John Steele, Karen Solem, Ellen Wells, Tamara and Jim Ley, Henry and Suzanne Rodriguez, Robert Blattberg, Bob and Beverly Bartner, Steve and Dale Adler, Susan Brennan, Chris Caswell, Georgia Court, Cam Cox, John Cranor, Matt and Deb DePalma, Richy Edwards, Joel Elkes, Allyn Gallup, Kelly Gettel, Roxie and Mike Jerde, Elaine Keating, Tom Koski, Peg Lowery, Hannah and Greg McDaniel, Margaret Pennington, Robert and Susie Samp, and Jon Thaxton.

Michael Fitzpatrick and me 

Joy and Jim Rogers and Ilene Denton

Sally Lucke Elkes and Pat Johnson

Brad Goddard, Gina Taylor, Mark Pritchard

Caroline Andrus and Carol White Bold

Larry Bold and John Bean

Michael Ross Jazz Ensemble

Leslie Edwards, David Dignam and friend of the Hermitage

Guests checking in

Eliot and Elizabeth Rose

Pat and Ron Pantello

Elizabeth Van Riper and Alex Quarles

Bobbi Lorry, Sophia LaRusso, Andy Maass

Dr. Sarah Pappas and Ellen Berman

Sharyn Lonsdale and Bruce Rodgers

Renee Hamad and Carolyn Spizzaro

BJ Creighton and Dru Greene

Alexandra Jupin and Pat Thompson

Lelia Windom and Rita Steele

Marv Albert and Gerri Aaron

Flori Roberts and Flora Majors

The salad buffet in front of the water towers

Joan Golub and Helen Sosso

Teri Hansen and Veronica Brady

Aimee and Chris Cogan and Deb Knowles

Nelda Thompson and Katie Couchot

Pedro Reis and Dolly Jacobs-Reis

A friend with Margaret Wise

Rebecca Donelson and Gia Ventola

The tent filled with 300 lobster-eating people

Anne Weintraub and Ellen Berman

Caroline Andrus and Carolyn Michel

Andy Maass and Jett Thompson

Keith Fitzgerald and Andy Walker

Chari Isaacs

Patricia Caswell and Bev Koski

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