First opened to the public on January 22, 2002, the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art was established through the generosity of Dr. Allen Leepa (artist, educator, and author), and his wife, Isabelle. Additional support was provided by the St. Petersburg College Foundation, Inc., through St. Petersburg College and the State of Florida.
The initial gift to the museum included works by Abraham Rattner, Allen Leepa’s stepfather and a renowned figurative expressionist; Esther Gentle, Rattner’s second wife and a print-maker, sculptor, and painter; and Allen Leepa, an abstract expressionist artist. Also included was an extensive collection of works by notable 20th century artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, and Henry Moore.
Since opening, the museum has expanded its collection through gifts and purchases. In 2010, the former Gulf Coast Museum of Art collection was acquired by St. Petersburg College and a significant portion was given to the museum. This gift enriched the museum’s permanent collection of approximately 6,000 objects and created a new collection focus on contemporary Florida art since 1990, along with fine crafts of the Southeastern United States.
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.