Archive for the ‘Leepa-Rattner Museum’ Category

Students take a moment to chill in the Chill Zone at the Tarpon Springs Campus during the spring 2014 finals week.

Students take a moment to chill in the Chill Zone at the Tarpon Springs Campus during the spring 2014 finals week.

To help alleviate the stress of final exams, the Learning Resources department at SPC launched the Chill Zone, a relaxation area at the entrance of the Tarpon Springs Campus library, during the spring semester finals week.

The event helped promote student engagement and success by giving students a place to relax during the stressful academic week.

Ethan Hart, associate director of Learning Resources at the Tarpon Springs Campus, wanted to offer a variety of tools to ease students’ stress.

“We wanted to appeal to our students’ different needs by offering art activities, relaxing music, snacks, games and visits by a licensed therapy dog,” Hart said.

The Chill Zone was a hit, thanks in part to funding by the Tarpon Springs Campus Provost Office as well as art materials from the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art. Students congregated in the comfy seating area daily, taking time to visit with friends, catch up on reading or hone their art skills with coloring books.

Bailey, the therapy dog from Suncoast Hospice, also was a fan favorite. Students in the middle of cramming for finals took a much needed break when the friendly Bichon Frise stopped by to say hello.

Student Nick Emery visits the Chill Zone and spends quality time with Bailey the therapy dog.

Student Nick Emery visits the Chill Zone and spends quality time with Bailey the therapy dog.

Students, staff and faculty have been overwhelmingly supportive of the Chill Zone in recent surveys. The Learning Resources department plans to offer this service every term during finals week.

The Chill Zone served as only one of many Spring 2014 initiatives aimed at increasing student engagement by the campus’ Learning Resources department. Other activities included:

  • “Ed App Wednesday” – Each week, Learning Resources staff members highlighted a free, new educational tool useful for students. Armed with cards, posters and QR codes, staff members walked around campus on Wednesdays, letting the campus community know about the resources that were available.
  • Educational outreach – Learning Resources staff set up a table at Student Life and Leadership events like the Earth Day celebration, Welcome Back Week and African-American History month. Staff members brought library books related to the event theme, workshop schedules and an iPad to answer any on-the-spot questions.

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The Tampa Bay Times recently published a write-up about three exhibits opening at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art. One features the work of George Inness Jr., who had a large winter home in Tarpon Springs and was the son of noted landscape artist George Inness.

Other exhibits are “Historic Tarpon Springs” featuring a group of prints by architect Edward C. Hoffman Jr. of historic buildings and “The Legacy Continues” with works by Tarpon Springs artists Christopher Still, Kevin Grass, Elizabeth Indianos, Mitch Kolby, Allen Leepa and Joseph Weinzettle. TBNweekly.com also featured news about the exhibits.

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Child's Play

Kevin Grass
Child’s Play, 2013
Acrylic on panel, 60 x 44 in.

The new exhibition at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art celebrates the creative and wide-ranging talents and accomplishments of the St. Petersburg College art faculty.

The show demonstrates the commitment and dedication of the arts faculty to art education while also displaying high standards for their own artistic development.

One work in the exhibition showcases faculty members in another way. The painting Child’s Play by Kevin Grass, show here, features images of arts faculty members from the Clearwater Campus: Jonathan Barnes (on the ladder), Kim Kirchman (in the swing) and Frank Duffy (in the blue shirt). Kevin Grass’ wife Michaela Oberlaender (in the tree) teaches art history classes at the college.

The exhibition opened the week of March 6 and continues through April 20.

The exhibition features works by full-time art faculty members Jonathan Barnes, Barton Gilmore, Kevin Grass, Marjorie Greene and Kimberly Kirchman.

Participating adjunct faculty are Linda Berghoff, Frank Duffy, Ya La’Ford, Francesco Gillia, Barbara Hubbard, Elizabeth Indianos, Susan Johnson, Chris Otten, Rebecca Skelton, McKenzie Smith and Joseph Weinzettle.

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The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College has achieved accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for a museum.

“Accreditation assures supporters that their museum is among the finest in the nation,” said Ford W. Bell, president of the AAM. “As a result, citizens can take considerable pride in their home-grown institution for its commitment to excellence and for the value it brings to the community.”

The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art is among the newest museums in the Tampa Bay region. It opened on the Tarpon Springs Campus in 2002 in an award-winning building.

The museum was established after a large collection of 20th Century artwork from the estate of Abraham Rattner was donated to the college in 1996 by Rattner’s stepson, artist Allen Leepa.

The museum began its work toward accreditation in 2004. Director Ann Larsen said the accreditation will allow the Leepa-Rattner Museum to attract better national exhibitions, increase financial support and raise the museum’s national profile.

Only about 1,000 of the country’s more than 17,500 museums have achieved AAM accreditation. “It puts us into the highest echelon of museums in the country,” she said.

Other Tampa Bay area museums with the accreditation include the Florida Holocaust Museum, The Henry B. Plant Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Salvador Dali Museum, Tampa Museum of Art and the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum.

Accreditation is a rigorous process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations.

To earn accreditation, a museum first must conduct extensive self-study, then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, review and evaluate the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation. While the time to complete the process varies by museum, it is a multi-year commitment that requires diligence of organizational leaders, staff, volunteers and other members of the museum’s community.

The commitment of St. Petersburg College to the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art speaks to the college’s vision and aspirations for its students and broader community.

Under the leadership of President Bill Law, the college has deepened its commitment by affirming that the arts are integral to the curriculum and essential to educating good citizens.

“There’s a growing body of research that shows that integrating arts into the classroom and a student’s experience significantly improves the learning capability of students,” said Conferlete Carney, provost of the Tarpon Springs Campus. “Students learn more when the arts are infused into the teaching.”

The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art is open daily except Mondays and major holidays. For more information visit www.spcollege.edu/museum or phone 727-712-5225.

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Asher Ein-Dor, Untitled, Blacklight poster, 1972, LRMASPC faculty, staff and students are invited to kick off Halloween at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art’s Halloween Extravaganza, a free event just for them from 6-8 p.m. on October 31.

The festivities include gallery tours; food, drink and Halloween treats; music; mask decorating; ghost stories; and special exhibitions such as vintage black light posters and art videos.

Costumes are optional.

For further information contact Patti Buster, LRMA Education Coordinator, at 727-712-5226 or buster.patti@spcollege.edu.

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LRMArtistsArt is in the air at the Artists’ Market at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College! Shop original works by some 30 local artists inside the comfort and ambience of the museum and get a head start on your holiday shopping.

The 2013 Artists’ Market will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 22, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, 600 Klosterman Road at the corner of Klosterman and Belcher Roads, Tarpon Springs.

“This is our sixth annual Artists’ Market,” said Lynn Pierson, manager of Isabelle’s Museum Store, “and it continues to be the go-to event for finding that unique item as we move into the holiday shopping season. This year, we are setting up our auditorium as a food venue where guests may purchase and enjoy beverages and food both days from the Bayou Café of Tarpon Springs.”

Take this special opportunity to browse through all original work including wearable art, paintings, prints and more, while supporting participating local artists, the education mission of the museum and Isabelle’s Museum Store. There will be information about the creative endeavors of local art and cultural groups, and Art Book Nook which will have a wide range of beautiful, gently used books and magazines for sale. In addition, Isabelle’s Museum Store will have a sale of its large selection of posters.

Admission to the market and parking are free and the museum will be open with no charge to visitors both days of the event. Free docent tours will be available at 2 p.m. both days. For further information, contact the museum at (727) 712-5762 or visit www.spcollege.edu/museum.

The Artists’ Market is sponsored by Isabelle’s Museum Store.

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The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art honors the innovative work of St. Petersburg College educators from various academic departments who collaborate with the museum to enhance students’ learning experiences through the arts. The following is excerpted from a recent exchange with Juan Flores, Associate Professor of Communications at SPC.

LRMA: Juan, please share with our members how you first began working with LRMA and what this experience has been like for you as an educator.

JF: I teach English as well as Developmental Writing. Writers need a concrete topic from which to work deeper, more abstract thoughts. Study any of the works from the great writers and you’ll note the deeper, more abstract and philosophical thoughts made their way from visual, tangible topics – people, places and things – though all are characteristically molded from the deep stuff, the deeper matters of life.

When I first walked into the Leepa- Rattner Museum of Art, I knew I had a means for teaching writing. Art – visual, tangible Art (with a capital A) is like
this: It is a perfect medium for teaching writing. An Art piece has a creator, it has
a history, it has theme, direction, color, form, shape, drama, irony, even rising and falling action; moreover, it is a conduit for revelatory thinking – highly interpretive, spiritually and dynamically crystalline in sensation. LRMA – on a college campus – is nothing less than a host of these ideas.

You want deep, thinking in student essays? Then begin with the concrete stuff that really matters, and that comes from visual, tangible Art. Students want to write about deep stuff; they want to expand. They just need a special place and the accoutrements for doing it!

LRMA: Give us an example of how you utilize museum resources in your classes.

JF: Students work and write out a basic description of their selected art. That’s basic, but from there research begins. Students do historical, biographical, and even some focused study on the particular genre of art from which their piece comes. From knowledge concerning historical and biographical background, students then begin to single out a theme that the art piece possesses. This means that students will identify and synthesize certain abstract and concrete symbols within the painting or sculpture — often coming from its historic context. This also includes any ironic use of contrasting colors and images. This teaches students that various forms of art — whether visual or literary — are quite nearly the same. From that vantage point, I can more easily move into the interpretation of literature; hence, we move from the concrete to the abstract.

LRMA: The development of critical thinking skills is considered an essential component of a complete education. How does the museum experience contribute to the development of these skills?

JF: I always thought it interesting that the word critical is rooted in the Greek “kritike” and how wonderful that our students are coming to understand this concept, within a Greek community where our campus is situated. To critique means to analyze and to appreciate (something) for the mechanical and spiritual values it possesses. To critique means that one must approach the topic as if approaching a mountain or a gust of wind—to feel it and understand it means you have to stand there, be there right with it! To employ the skill of kritike means that a student must conjure up his/ her ability to distinguish, discriminate, separate and analyze. Michael Polanyi, a great philosopher, chemist and writer once wrote, “We cannot understand the whole by simply viewing its parts, but by viewing the whole we can understand the use of its parts.” Art at LRMA embodies that thought. The experience is both inductive and deductive. That’s critical thinking!

LRMA: You were among a group of our teaching partners who were invited to meet with representatives of the American Alliance of Museums during a recent site visit at the museum. What were you most proud to share with the visiting team about the work you and your students have done at the museum?

JF: With help from my department, I put together a compilation of student essays from one semester—probably over a hundred pieces that were bound and ready for AAM’s look-see. What I was most proud of was the passion and meaning-making that our students showed in the renditions of their selected pieces.

LRMA: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

JF: LRMA is a wonderful place for learning: large, spacious rooms incredibly loaded with the stuff of sensation and impression, boards for chalking and talking provided, books, and teaching docents. It is, quite literally, what a learning environment should be.

The museum offers a membership program. Learn more about membership levels and benefits on LRMA’s website.

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