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'LIFE IN PUERTO RICO' ART EXHIBIT SET TO DEBUT AT PHCC GALLERY

Gloria E. Barreto de Rodriguez and Luis F. Rodriguez were born in Puerto Rico, and though they were raised and educated in the New York City area, their artwork is firmly planted in their native land.

Works from their award-winning creations will be exhibited Thursday through Oct. 17 at the Pasco-Hernando Community College Art Gallery. A reception marking the opening of "Life in Puerto Rico" is 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Luis Rodriguez left the island and moved to Brooklyn with his mother and brother in 1958, according to a biography by Elizabeth Parker on the "Isla" Puerto Rican arts and crafts Web site.

He graduated from Brandeis University in 1970 and built a career as a supervisor of civil rights investigations for the federal government until he retired in 2004.

He maintained an interest in art and became a professional as he neared retirement.

Gloria E. Barreto's family moved to Brooklyn in 1970. She became a certified nursing assistant and, later, an executive administrative assistant for several organizations. Gloria and Luis met and married in Florida.

Both paint acrylics and oils in bright, primary colors, often choosing scenes and subjects from the land of their birth: red flamboyant trees (royal poincianas), swaying palms, glittering white beaches, neon-hued skiffs, multicolored leaves, bunches of bananas, sailboats and clear blue oceans.

Gloria also does collages and abstracts. Luis often chooses pastoral scenes.

One of Luis' paintings was chosen for the 2008 Hispanic Alliance of Tampa Bay calendar. Gloria won second place in the 2007 Hispanic Heritage Poster contest.

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