About the Museum
The mission of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art is to collect, conserve, exhibit and protect the works of art entrusted to its care and stewardship. Through its exhibitions, programs and expanding collection of 20th and 21st century art, the Museum strives to engage and inspire our diverse community by providing opportunities for education, enlightenment, interpretation, and research to students, scholars and visitors.
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art opened January 22, 2002 on the Tarpon Springs Campus of St. Petersburg College. The Museum's 20th century collection is made up of art from Abraham Rattner's estate donated by Allen and Isabelle Leepa and a large donation made by the Tampa Museum of Art in 1997. The Museum is filled with Rattner's retrospective works: lithographs, tapestries, sculptures, paintings and stained glass. It is sure to be the largest assemblage of Rattner's work in the world as efforts continue to be made to reclaim Rattner works from other venues.
The 6,000-piece collection also contains works by Esther Gentle, Rattner's second wife, who was a printmaker, sculptor and painter and Allen Leepa, himself, an artist, educator and author. Works by Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Marc Chagall, Auguste Herbin, Georges Rouault, Hans Hofmann and Max Ernst are part of the collection. Rattner considered many of them, from the Paris days of the 1920s and 1930s, to be his friends as well as contemporaries. A group of first-run posters from 20th century Paris exhibitions and Rattner's archival materials -- personal items including poetry, diaries and letters -- are also part of the collection. Of particular interest is Rattner's correspondence with noted author Henry Miller.
The Museum was designed by the award-winning architect E.C. Hoffman Jr. and built by Creative Contractors, Inc. The hi-tech interior work was crafted by Creative Machines, Inc. The 53,000 square-foot building simulates the bow of a ship -- a post modernist nod towards Tarpon Springs' fishing and sponging communities. The Museum complex is actually comprised of three buildings in one -- the Museum, the Ellis Foundation Art Education Center and the Michael M. Bennett Library -- designed in such a way that the buildings appear as if they were thrust together. Hoffman Architects, PA was awarded the 2002 H. Dean Rowe Award of Design Excellence by the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for the design of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.