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Leepa-Rattner museum features famous local artists

Jack Barrett died in 2008, but his joyous art lives on in public and private collections (I have a beloved painting hanging on one of my walls) and, through Aug. 31, at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art. Being a successful illustrator at the Times paid his bills for 20 years. When he retired in the 1980s, he began painting full time and easily paid his bills with sales of his fine art. Nine watercolors and collages are on view at the museum, 600 Klosterman Road, on the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College.

Louise Barrett, his widow and keeper of his legacy, will be at the museum at 10 a.m. Friday for a gallery talk. At the same time, you can meet Otok Ben-Hvar for a gallery talk, both free with admission. Ben-Hvar is a "patriotic performance artist" who uses firecrackers in some of his paintings and mixed media works that include his interpretation of the American flag.

The big show right now at the museum is "An Arts Legacy: George Inness Jr. in Tarpon Springs" through Aug. 31. It's a survey of paintings by this too-neglected artist who followed his famous father's career path as a landscape painter.

Inness Jr. (1853-1926) had a special connection to Tarpon Springs, where he had a winter home and studio and drew inspiration from the surroundings for many of his works. He even created a series of landscapes for his church there — now the Unitarian Universalist Church — that are included in the show. A group of them is arranged in a gallery designed as a meditative, chapel-like space. They're beautifully wrought and infused with spirituality. If you're a Tarpon Springs resident and bring an ID, admission is free on Saturday with docent tours at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 adults, $5 seniors and free to students with ID, kids 17 and younger and active military. Sunday admission is free with a suggested donation of $5.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at lbennett@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8293.

Leepa-Rattner museum features famous local artists 06/17/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 6:02pm]

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