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Escape to Create

Seaside hosts resident artists, illuminating the world of the arts to the 30A community

While the beauty of our beach, rare coastal dune lakes and world-acclaimed architecture attract millions to the Emerald Coast every summer, Seaside’s Escape To Create (E2C) Arts Residency stands as an international beacon of hope in the realm of the arts and ideas. Founded as a grassroots homeowner initiative 27 years ago, E2C has made an extraordinary contribution in shaping and enriching the unique character of our small town through residencies, performance and educational outreach. Recognized as one of the most rewarding creative retreats in the U.S., Seaside has fostered an extraordinary legacy by hosting Escape To Create artists seeking authentic connection to our community as they explore deeper meaning in their works.

Following a stringent application and review process, 12 distinguished artists are guests of our close-knit community during January and February. In addition to their individual creative projects, each will contribute arts education in classrooms throughout Walton County. Award winning music performance, invigorating public lectures, dramatic readings and art exhibitions are presented to the public in collaboration with Seaside’s incredible network of non-profits: the Seaside Neighborhood School, the Seaside Institute, The Chapel at Seaside and The REP Theatre.

An annual celebration of the essential role of artist in community life, Escape To Create rests on the immeasurable philanthropy of its volunteer and advisory boards, the gracious generosity of our homeowner hosts and the contributions of individual and merchant sponsors. In celebrating the essential role of artist in community life, we share in a powerful legacy found nowhere else but in our beloved Seaside. Please join us in welcoming the distinguished artists of Escape To Create:

Jan. 3 – 31
Donald Carroll lives and works as an attorney in Rome where he has been actively involved in the theater community for 30 years as actor, director and playwright. His full-length play, “If Lear Had A Lawyer,” premiered with the English Theatre of Rome in 2017 with the role of Shakespeare’s Fool contemporized as a newly minted lawyer wrestling with his monarch’s wishes. While in Seaside, Carroll will further hone his script with timeless questions of whether the rule of law is always just, whether power must corrupt and whether blind love can always be true. Carroll and the Fool appear in a special literary evening Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at The REP Theatre. The playwright will also teach a poetry workshop using iambic pentameter for high school creative writing students.

The Escape Ensemble Residency was inaugurated in 2018 as a music performance and educational outreach residency dedicated to advancing the next generation of international performers. The 2019 Ensemble of four musicians is under the direction of distinguished E2C Alum, composer Dr. Dorothy Hindman). Top students at the New England Conservatory of Music and Frost School of Music (University of Miami), the Escape Ensemble is noted for their brilliant performance of classical repertoire. Their concert at The REP Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m. will include Bach, Brahms, Mozart, Shostakovich and other masterworks of the classical genre. The Ensemble will also perform Baroque and Renaissance era liturgical music during Sunday services at The Chapel and will visit schools throughout Walton and Okaloosa Counties in partnership with Sinfonia Gulf Coast’s extensive music education outreach.

Hannah Culbreth, a native of Atlanta, performs on French horn. She is currently in her third year of undergraduate studies at the New England Conservatory of Music as a student of Jason Snider (Boston Symphony Orchestra). Ms. Culbreth has toured with orchestras throughout the U.S., South America, Asia, and Canada.

Pianist Jacob Mason burst upon the classical scene at the age of 13 with a sweep of national piano competitions with the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 1. He debuted as soloist with the New World Symphony on April 13, 2013, and has performed at Carnegie Hall. Hailed for his brilliant technique and mastery of difficult repertoire, Mason currently studies at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music with pianist Kevin Kenner, winner of the International Chopin Piano Competition. In addition to chamber performances, Mason will contribute a solo piano concert of masterworks by great American composers as a shared fundraiser for Escape To Create and the Seaside Institute.
Sebastian Ortega is a Venezuelan-American cellist at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studies with Paul Katz. Ortega is recipient of the Presidential Distinction Award at NEC and has toured and studied internationally.

Violionist Andrew Samarasekara began his performance studies with world-renowned teacher Lutsia Ibragimova at the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, England. He currently studies at the New England Conservatory of Music under the tuition of Paul Biss and Miriam Fried. Samarasekara has won many distinguished awards and performs as soloist and chamber musician across his native England and in prestigious venues in the U.S. and Europe.

J.C. Hallman of Brooklyn, N.Y., is the author of several works of nonfiction that combine memoir, history, journalism, and travelogue. He has also published a collection of short stories and edited two anthologies of “creative criticism.” Hall’s numerous honors include a Pushcart Prize and a James Michener Fellowship. He is recipient of a 2010 McKnight Artist Fellowship in fiction, and a 2013 Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation in the general non-fiction category. While in Seaside, Hallman will develop his next book about the highly controversial “Father of Gynecology,” J. Marion Sims, and a previously forgotten slave, Anarca, whose surgery launched his international acclaim. “The Anarcha Quest: The Story of a Slave and a Surgeon” is scheduled for publication in 2020 by University of Virginia Press. Hallman is featured in a special literary evening on Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at The REP Theatre along with E2C playwright Donald Carroll. Hallman will teach a high school class in creative writing based on exploration of a 1915 James Agee essay.

Kansas City photographer Tom Styrkowicz’s early career was established in Chicago as a fashion photographer, producer of fashion shows, art and graphic designer, and creative consultant. He was creative director of The Limited in New York during its rapid national expansion before moving to Kansas City to run a design group for Hallmark Cards. Following the sudden death of his wife in 2005, Styrkowicz reinvented himself as a portrait photographer. His work reveals the unique essence of his subjects in artistic quick studies and arresting visual narratives. He has published 12 collections and has exhibited in galleries, museums, arts centers, libraries and other venues throughout the mid-west. His large tableaux, “One By One Community Portrait/Performances,” document hundreds of individuals as vibrant components defining community. Styrkowicz has created his unique portrait collections for the Arizona-Sonoma Museum of Art, numerous non-profits and corporations and at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. While in Seaside, Styrkowicz will focus on in-depth studies of community members and will conduct a portrait session for students to impart a deeper understanding of portrait imagery beyond the culture of the “selfie.”

Jan. 31 – Feb. 28
Composer Jean Fineberg is a national figure in the arena of jazz and popular music. Her worldwide career in tenor sax, flute and drums includes performance with David Bowie, Luther Vandross, Bo Diddly, and many others. Her compositions have been performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Grammy Foundation and at major jazz festivals in the U.S., South America and Europe. Her numerous awards include ASCAP honors and a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Fellowship. Fineberg is a charter faculty member at the California Jazz Conservatory (formerly Jazzschool) at Berkley, Calif., where she is also director of annual jazz and blues camps for women and girls. She is a charter member of the Montclair Women’s Big Band, which has recorded many of her compositions. During her residency, Fineberg will compose, arrange and orchestrate new works for a 2019 album written for her ensemble JAZZphoria. The composer will present video of her big band and octet performances and will conduct a jazz clinic for Emerald Coast Middle School Band.

Painter and printmaker Kathleen Raymond has been an innovative art instructor in Dallas area high schools and colleges for over 20 years. Her creative honors include a fellowship award in Painting and Works on Paper from the Mid-America Arts Alliance/National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the Teacher Institute in Contemporary Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Raymond has been awarded residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Nantucket School of Design & the Arts. During her Seaside residency, she will create new works that capture the unique beauty of the Emerald Coast and will be exhibited in an E2C community salon. Raymond will conduct a drawing and printmaking workshop for county high school students and offers to help area students in their preparation of AP and college admissions portfolios.

Since her 2015 Escape To Create Residency, singer songwriter Linda McRae has gained an international following as performer of unforgettable melodies and thought provoking lyrics. Originally from Canada and now of Nashville, McRae was the 2016 British Columbia Entertainment Hall of Fame Pioneer Inductee and was winner of the 2017 Boston Family Folk Chorale Songwriting Competition for her song, “Be The Light.” Performing on banjo, guitar and accordion, McRae’s skilled musicianship, deeply satisfying voice evocative of a mature Patsy Cline and refreshing acoustic style will be onstage at The REP Theatre on Friday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. as Escape To Create’s annual “Valentine To 30A”champaign concert. McRae’s teaching, an integral part of her career, serves prison population workshops across North America. McRae will conduct her Express Yourself workshop benefitting troubled students in county schools.

Lavinia Roberts is a New York City theater teacher and award-winning playwright. More than 40 of her plays for young people have been published and her works have been presented throughout the U.S. and internationally. Roberts is also a visual artist, a puppet designer and is author of two theater education resource books for children. Her plays, written for both traditional and experimental theater, explore themes of privilege, environmentalism, and humanism. Her full-length play “Poor People,” a free stage adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s masterpiece “Poor Folk,” was featured in the 2015 New York City International Fringe Festival. While in Seaside, Roberts will develop a new play inspired by Homer’s Odyssey. “Weave” explores the experience of women during wartime and their role in re-humanizing population, healing physical and moral injury and learning to love again. Roberts will visit the drama department at South Walton High School.

Tomica Scavina is a writer, educator and psychologist living in Zagreb, Croatia. She has written works of fiction, children’s books and poetry, each of which has garnered literary honors in her country. Her second novel, “Kaleidoscope World,” was translated into English and is available on Amazon. Scavina also writes radio dramas for children (“Tamer of the Clouds”) and stories based on her travels as a writer for Croatian National Radio (“Wandering in Sound”). In addition to her private practice, Scavina lectures at the Vern University of Applied Sciences in Zagreb where she teaches a course in the psychology of creativity. She also teaches “Beyond Writing,” a workshop on the interface between creativity and psychology at the Zagreb Center for Creative Writing. While in Seaside, Tomica plans to complete her third novel “Healing Dictionary.” The book is based on her experiences as a young teen during the 1991-1995 war in Croatia.


Tickets to Escape to Create performances at The REP Theatre can be purchased online at LoveTheREP.com. Tickets to the Jacob Mason solo piano concert on Jan. 27, 2 p.m. at the Seaside Assembly Hall are available online at seasideinstitute.org.

For information, visit our websiteescape2create.org


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