TARPON SPRINGS — Nationally acclaimed painter Dean Mitchell, Florida Black History Month's featured artist, will be at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art today .
The free Dean Mitchell Family Day event, which will run from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., accompanies the special exhibition, Dean Mitchell: Visions with Heart and Soul, viewable through May 2.
It's his first retrospective in the Tampa Bay area and reflects his perceptions of life.
"It shows his appreciation of architecture, nature, his family and his heritage," said Lynn Whitelaw, museum director. "He is known as one of the premier realist painters in the country. His watercolors look like photographs."
The exhibit is composed of 66 drawings, watercolors, acrylic and oil paintings garnered from private collections. The works include pastoral scenes, New Orleans French Quarter tableaus, still lifes and African-American portraits.
Mitchell was born in 1957 in Pennsylvania and grew up in Quincy, near Tallahassee. He is a graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design. He worked for Hallmark Cards before pursuing a career in fine art. His studio is in the Channelside district in Tampa.
Dean Mitchell Family Day activities include:
• Docent tours of the exhibit at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.
• "Wet Paint" watercolor activities for children with water media artist Taylor Ikin from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
• Storytelling at 11:30 a.m., and 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. featuring the children's book Against All Odds: Dean Mitchell's Story.
• "Salute to Family and Friends," a sketching activity for all ages from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• "The Artist Speaks," an interview with Dean Mitchell conducted by Dr. Leslie Hammond, curator of the exhibition, at 2 p.m.
• "The Living Canvas," a DVD presentation about Dean Mitchell, narrated by Billy Dee Williams.
• Live music by the St. Petersburg College Jazz Ensemble from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.