Lennie Bennett, Times Art Critic

Lennie Bennett

Lennie Bennett joined the Times in 1995 as the "On the Town" columnist and also wrote general assignment stories on a variety of topics, including local arts, cultural issues and philanthropy. She became the art critic in 2002. She reviews the visual arts in all forms throughout the Tampa Bay area and, on occasion, nationally. She has also been a regular panelist for various arts organizations.

Phone: (727) 893-8293

Email: lennie@tampabay.com

  1. Review: Word to the wise: Dunedin Fine Art Center holds summer intrigue

    Visual Arts


    The Dunedin Fine Art Center is having a fine summer. The lobby has a brighter, airier feel after a renovation opened it up, new classrooms accommodate ever-growing demand, the cafe has been enlarged, and a gallery has been added to the existing four (though one still seems like a multitasking hall). And new space for the David L. Mason Children's Hands-On Museum was also added. A new gift shop opens on Monday....

    Stephen Littlefield’s acrylic on canvas from “Our Gang.” 
  2. ArtWalk patrons will enjoy galleries galore and a full moon

    Visual Arts

    A full moon will shine down on the Second Saturday ArtWalk in St. Petersburg. At least it will near the end at 9 p.m.

    But the sun will shine first as more than 40 galleries and studios keep their doors open late to showcase and sell just about any type of art. ArtWalk sprawls through five arts districts: the Waterfront, Central, Edge, Grand Central and Warehouse. Some venues will have demonstrations, and some are open only for the event. Trolleys and shuttles (the shuttles also have art guides) cover all of the districts. All are free except for the Central Avenue Trolley, which charges 50 cents. Parking is also available in all areas. Cool restaurants and craft breweries dot the neighborhoods, too, so the party doesn't have to end early....

    About 100 people gathered recently on the lawn in front of the Dalí Museum to see an audiovisual installation.
  3. Enjoy a summer getaway through art at Sarasota gallery

    Visual Arts

    Dabbert Gallery, 76 S Palm Ave., Sarasota, presents its annual summer show with a cast of artists from far-flung places such as Southern California; Sydney, Australia; and Prince Edward Island, Canada (coincidentally, nice places to go for a summer vacation). Media include paintings, prints and sculpture. Shown, Dog Day Afternoon, an oil painting by Tom Swimm. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Free. dabbertgallery.com or (941) 955-1315. ...

    "Evening Calm Siesta Beach" by William Suys, oil on canvas, framed 34" x 46"
  4. Polk Museum of Art puts Florida landscape photos on exhibit

    Visual Arts

    Another exhibition of photography to consider is "Terra Incognita: Photographs of America's Third Coast" at the Polk Museum of Art, 800 E Palmetto St., Lakeland. Richard Sexton created a portfolio of the Gulf Coast over a 15-year period. In the 57 photographs on view, we see marshes, scrubland, forests, beaches and swamps in black and white, which contributes to their visual lyricism. It continues through Sept. 13. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 adults, $4 seniors and free for children and students with ID. polkmuseumofart.org or (863) 688-7743....

    Richard Sexton, Ascension, quadtone pigment print.
  5. Florida Museum of Photographic Arts has diverse exhibit

    Visual Arts

    The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts doesn't have a large permanent collection, only about 150 works, but what it has it uses well. "Portraits and Places" is a selection of 25, about half in black-and-white and half in color. It extends from the Burgert Brothers' photographs of early Tampa through contemporary photographers, including current and former staff of the Tampa Bay Times. Don't expect to find a common thread in this show, as we see in most museum exhibitions. It's a diverse group from many points of view and intentions that includes fine art photography and photojournalism. ...

    Polly Gaillard, House (after A. Morell), (from Pressure Points), 2009.
  6. Plans unfold for huge art museum in downtown St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — It was an astonishing announcement, made in November 2013, that for some reason didn't draw the astonishment it should have.

    The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement would rise on a downtown St. Petersburg site with a multimillion-dollar permanent collection in a four-story, 90,000-square-foot building designed at a cost of more than $35 million by Alfonso Architects of Tampa. It would also have a two-story parking garage. ...

    This display shows the range of objects in Rudy Ciccarello’s American Arts and Crafts collection.
  7. Review: Poseidon's ancient, powerful world on view at Tampa Museum of Art

    Visual Arts

    Poseidon was one busy god.

    In the ancient world, he was in charge of the seas and natural disasters, especially earthquakes. Poseidon was also, like his fellow gods and goddesses, a lusty soul, racking up dozens of liaisons that ranged from romance to rape, leading to many progeny. We see his story told in "Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult and Daily Life" at the Tampa Museum of Art in 125 objects dating from 800 B.C. to 400 A.D. and encompassing the Greek, Etruscan and Roman cultures....

    The statue of Poseidon-Neptune greets visitors to “Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult & Daily Life” at the Tampa Museum of Art.
  8. Herb Snitzer photographs revisit St. Pete Pride

    Visual Arts

    St. Pete Pride is the big event Saturday and Sunday. But keep in mind, when that ends, you can revisit the famous parade through the photographs of Herb Snitzer at Nuance Galleries in Tampa. For several years, he has documented the event, and a collection of about two dozen photographs will be on view along with vintage photographs of jazz greats and celebrities, all in his signature black-and-white prints. Snitzer, who is noted for those portraits, especially his intimate ones of jazz musicians, also has a long history of advocacy and action for social causes. He was involved in the civil rights movement early on, for example. He isn't a didactic photographer, though; there's a lot of heart that comes through the camera lens. Nuance, 804 S Dale Mabry Highway, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Free. nuancegalleries.com or (813) 875-0511....

    For several years, photographer Herb Snitzer has been documenting St. Pete Pride.
  9. Step back in time at ARTpool

    Visual Arts

    If you're in the market for something to wear, something to do, something to collect or something to eat, ARTpool, 2030 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, is your go-to place as an art gallery, event space, record store and purveyor of retro and antique furniture and vintage clothing. Plus there's a cool cafe serving soups, salads and wraps, including vegan and gluten-free offerings, plus craft beer and wine. An added activity on Saturday and Sunday is its Crafty Fest. Several dozen vendors set up in the ARTpool garden selling locally made crafts, including an Etsy contingent, and vintage goods. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. artpoolrules.com....

    The ARTpool Crafty Fest is Saturday and Sunday. It’s at 2030 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.
  10. Large glass sculptures provide 'gem of a show' at Ringling

    Visual Arts


    The big show at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is "Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World." It's a fascinating look inside the world of gifted artists who made careers copying or working in the style of famous artists and passing it off as genuine.

    But the museum has a lot more to see in addition to the show and its magnificent permanent collection. A gem of a show also on view is "Precarious Possessions," large sculptures by glass artist Beth Lipman. ...

    Shown are a crib and a Shaker-inspired adult cradle used to rock the dying.
  11. Leepa-Rattner museum features famous local artists

    Visual Arts

    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. ...

    George Inness Jr., Sunset of the Bayou, 1925, oil on canvas.
  12. 'Creativity is Boundless' exhibit opens at HCC

    Visual Arts

    "Creativity Is Boundless" opens today at the Art Gallery on the Ybor campus of Hillsborough Community College, Palm Avenue and 15th Street, Tampa. It features works by members of the Very Special Arts Florida artist registry. Preview their work at vsafl.org/artist-registry. The public is invited to a free opening reception today from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., and a gallery talk at 6:15 p.m. will show a mixed media work by Bruce Cook. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Friday, and noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Free. (813) 253-7674....

    This mixed media piece is the handiwork of Bruce Cook.
  13. High rent may force Chihuly Collection to leave St. Petersburg's Beach Drive

    Visual Arts

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Chihuly Collection, with its dramatic glass installations by international art star Dale Chihuly, has been a big draw on Beach Drive in the city's downtown waterfront area since it opened in 2010.

    But it may move to a different location.

    "We're exploring our options," said Wayne Atherholt, executive director of the Morean Arts Center, which owns the collection. "We're at least a month away from making a decision and a move wouldn't happen quickly."...

    The Chihuly Collection has been on Beach Drive on St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront since it opened in 2010.
  14. Review: Fantastic works of young Chinese artists bridge the bay

    Visual Arts

    The kids are all right.

    "Kids" is perhaps a stretch for the 27 men and women in their 20s and early 30s whose work populates "My Generation: Young Chinese Artists" at the Tampa Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. But that age range is well below the median associated with "mature" artists. Yet there is such maturity in this exhibition, both technically and intellectually. An adult self-awareness balances the youthful self-absorption. The tone and tenor of the 100-plus works range from somber to giddy....

    Surrounded by his paintings, artist Sun Xun stands back to take in the installation he’s been working on for days in a gallery at the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, which is hosting the historic “My Generation: Young Chinese Artists” exhibition showcasing 27 artists, along with the Tampa Museum of Art.
  15. Exhibit on Greek god Poseidon dives into new territory

    Visual Arts

    There was a problem with the trident.

    It was to be a star of "Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult and Daily Life," which opens Saturday at the Tampa Museum of Art. But the 200-pound, 14-foot-long bronze spear, thought to date from the 6th to the 3rd centuries B.C. and on loan from the J. Paul Getty Museum in California, was too long for the museum's cargo elevator.

    Seth D. Pevnick was not to be denied the trident....

     The  statue of Poseidon/Neptune greets visitors to Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult & Daily Life, which opens June 14 at the Tampa Museum of Art.