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Leepa-Rattner displays George Inness Jr. exhibit
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“Tarpon Springs Port,” by George Inness Jr., undated, on loan from the Cici and Hyatt Brown Collection, is part of the special exhibition An Arts Legacy: George Inness Jr. in Tarpon Springs at Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, running May 4 through Aug. 31.
TARPON SPRINGS – The special exhibition An Arts Legacy: George Inness Jr. in Tarpon Springs opens Sunday, May 4, at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, 600 Klosterman Road. The exhibit will be on view through Aug. 31.

The display is the first of two exhibitions that will examine the legacy of the Inness painters in Tarpon Springs.

The Inness Jr. exhibition includes 13 paintings from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs, plus the loan of significant paintings from the Cici and Hyatt Brown Collection through the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach.

When renowned American landscape painter George Inness (1825-1894) died, his son, George Inness Jr. (1853-1926), was already established as a landscape painter. However, he lived under the shadow of his famous namesake father. To attain recognition as an artist, Inness Jr. traveled to Europe where he trained and won awards in the French academies painting in the Beaux Arts Eclecticism style.

In 1902, Inness Jr. came to Tarpon Springs and purchased the house his father had rented. He named the homestead Inness Manor and expanded it into a 27-room house, studio and artists' colony. Inness Manor, and a studio purchased on the Anclote River north of Tarpon Springs called Camp Comfort, became a destination for artists touring Florida during the early 20th century.

In 1918, after a devastating storm hit Tarpon Springs, Inness Jr. assisted the local Unitarian Universalist Church by painting a triptych to replace windows that blew out. Eventually, he painted three additional religious paintings for the church.

After his death in 1926, Inness Jr.'s widow secured four additional paintings by her husband and installed them in the church. They included the famous anti-war painting, “The Only Hope,” which toured the United States in 1924, and a companion piece, completed only days before Inness Jr. died, entitled “The Lord is in His Holy Temple.” Today, these 10 large paintings are cherished treasures in Tarpon Springs where the Unitarian Universalist Church has remained dedicated stewards.

Two related exhibitions will complement the Inness Jr. exhibition. Historic Tarpon Springs features a group of prints by Tarpon Springs architect Edward C. Hoffman Jr. of historic buildings in Tarpon Springs that were built during the time of the Innesses.

The Legacy Continues features works by Tarpon Springs artists who work in the landscape tradition, including Kevin Grass, Elizabeth Indianos, Mitch Kolbe, Allen Leepa, Christopher Still and Joseph Weinzettle.

Related events

A number of related events will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition An Arts Legacy: George Inness Jr. in Tarpon Springs, including the following:

• Walking Tour of Historic Tarpon Springs – Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m. to noon. A two-hour tour of historic buildings conducted by the Tarpon Springs Area Historical Society. For more details, call 943-4624. Cost is $15 per person.

• The Arts Legacy of Tarpon Springs – Sunday, May 18, 3 p.m. Lynn Whitelaw, LRMA curator, will present a gallery talk.

• The Legacy Continues – Thursday, May 22, 7 p.m. Renowned Tarpon Springs artist Christopher Still will present a gallery talk.

• Tarpon Springs Day – Saturday, June 21, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free LRMA admission will be offered for residents in zip codes 34688-34689. Docent-led tours will be presented at 11 a.m. and at 1 and 3 p.m.

• History of Unitarian Universalism – Sunday, July 6, 3 p.m. The Rev. Don Rollins, Pastor, Unitarian Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs, will present a lecture.

• Inness Jr. Paintings of the UUC Tarpon Springs – Sunday, July 13, 3 p.m. A tour of the Inness Jr. paintings created for, and bequeathed to, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs will be hosted by Linda Gradual of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

• Modernism Versus Anti-Modernism – Sunday, July 20, 3 p.m. Lynn Whitelaw, LRMA curator, and Patricia Buster, LRMA education coordinator, will present this lecture and tour.

• Literary Inspirations for Inness Jr. – Sunday, July 27, 3 p.m. This will be a dramatic reading of famous literary works favored by Inness Jr., including passages from “Nature,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and “A Forest Hymn,” by William Cullen Bryant.

• Community & Family Day – Sunday, Aug. 3, 1 to 5 p.m. The museum's annual Community Day will celebrate the Inness Jr. exhibition. Visitors will be treated to docent tours; family-centered art-making stations; community tables; refreshments and music.

About the museum

Opened in 2002, the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art is a modern and contemporary art museum featuring more than 6,000 pieces of 20th and 21st century art. The museum is located just west of U.S. 19 at 600 Klosterman Road, on the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College.

Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and free to children, students and military families. On Sundays, admission is free with a suggested donation of $5, and docent tours are offered at 2 p.m.

The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Isabelle's Museum Store is open during regular business hours.

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