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Rotary Happenings: Rotarians hear about Rauschenberg Residency

By ROTARY CLUB - | Feb 9, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Ann Brady, director of the Rauschenberg Residency program on Captiva, was the guest speaker at a recent meeting of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club.

The Rauchenberg legacy has long been an intriguing and mysterious concept. We know of its existence, but not much else. At a recent meeting of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, Ann Brady — director of the Rauschenberg Residency program on Captiva on behalf of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation — shared information about Robert “Bob” Rauchenberg, the foundation and the residency program.

In 1970, after watching traffic come to a complete stop to allow a turtle cross the road — locals know that it was most likely one of our beloved gopher tortoises — followed by a kaleidoscope of butterflies which flew through his window, Rauschenberg knew it was a sign to move to Captiva. He lived and worked on Captiva for the next nearly 40 years. Within that time, he slowly acquired parcels of land that adjoined his property to create what would become a 20-acre artist retreat.

The foundation was created in 1990 and based in New York City. As stated on its Website, “The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation fosters the legacy of Rauschenberg’s life and work. The foundation supports artists, initiatives, and institutions that embody the same innovative, inclusive, and multidisciplinary approach that Rauschenberg exemplified in both his art and philanthropic endeavors. The foundation focuses on three major areas: increasing public access to and scholarship of Rauschenberg’s artwork; cultivating emerging and established artists through a residency program at a 20-acre campus in Captiva, Florida, formerly the artist’s home and studio; and supporting philanthropic initiatives that connect art, culture, and creativity.”

With those focuses in mind, Brady was hired in 2011 to create a multidisciplinary artists’ residency program on the Captiva property. The program invites 10 anonymously chosen artists at a time, on a year-round basis, from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to come and stay for five weeks to create, recharge and just be. They are provided with a $3,000 stipend, travel, housing, meals made on property with local fruits and foods, time, space and community. The perfect recipe for an artist to let the creative juices flow.

The program, headed by Brady, is using the COVID-19 quiet time to make much needed repairs to the properties as being near the water is inspiring to people but very hard on structures. They are also focusing on a climate change adaptation plan to help prepare the property to be able to endure whatever climate changes the future holds in store. Rauschenberg was ahead of his time as a humanitarian and steward of the environment. Thankfully, dedicated artists are carrying on his legacy.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club holds a meeting on Fridays at 7:30 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel, and via Zoom. To attend in person, email Bill Harkey at William.Harkey@gmail.com; attendance is limited to 20 people. To take part via Zoom, call 239-472-7257. For more information, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary.