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Bonnet House inspires art exhibit at Delray library

View historic Bonnet House through the brush strokes of South Florida artists at a new exhibit in the Delray Beach Public Library.

"Bonnet House Views," an exhibition of 26 works inspired by scenes at the Fort Lauderdale landmark are on display in the library's second-floor gallery through Oct. 12.

"It's quite an interesting exhibit because it's mixed media," says Bonnie Stelzer, the library's director of community relations. "We have oils, acrylics, watercolors, photos and fabric collages from 13 artists all depicting scenes around the home."

Swans paddling in the lily pond and Jacaranda trees dripping with purple blooms, as well as monkeys, orchids and architecture are among the artistic studies inspired by the eclectic home and its 35 acres of living oasis.

"We are hoping the exhibit drives people in Palm Beach to visit the Bonnet House and Gardens," Seltzer says. "It's such a beautiful slice of Florida history. So charming and whimsical and beautiful."

Art is a rich legacy that continues to blossom, much like the lush, tropical gardens, at the grand estate, which sits just off State Road A1A, south of Sunrise Boulevard. All the artists are Bonnet House Fine Artist members, according to marketing manager Monica Estevez. Members exhibit and sell works on the property and at local galleries and museums.

Paintings collected and created by Frederic Clay Bartlett, who built the home in 1920, are on display in his studio and throughout the home.

His third wife, Evelyn Fortune Bartlett, whose works also are on display, saw the home as her creative masterpiece. She lived there until she died in 1997 at the age of 109. She donated the estate to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation in 1983.

Karen Eskesen, who teaches watercolor classes at Bonnet House and Old School Square, helped coordinate the exhibition, Estevez says.

Similar shows have been staged at the Cornell Museum of Art in downtown Delray Beach, Estevez, says.

"We've had several exhibitions at Old School Square in the past," Estevez says. "We hope visitors from Palm Beach County come to see the house and gardens, especially during our summer special offering $10 admission on the first and third Saturdays each month through September. "

If you go

"Bonnet House Views" is on display through Oct. 12 at the Delray Beach Public Library, 100 W. Atlantic Ave.

Info: 561-266-0194,,

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