Tuesday, April 19, 2016


                                               SALLY HILL: 1350 ml LAMP

                                            SUSAN CLINARD: DIANA, A WIRE SCULPTURE
As a mastermind of incredible inventions, with an expanding mind that encompassed a multitude of disciplines from science to mathematics to architecture, none can compare to that Italian marvel born in 1452.  Leonardo da Vinci would be renowned if all he ever did was pick up a paint brush. His most famous works like the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper are enough to insure his place in a gallery of masterpieces.

Fortunately for the world, Leonardo put down that palette of paints to experiment with contributions in sculpture, music, engineering, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, history, cartography and writing.  How appropriate it is that the Eli Whitney Museum selected this original “Renaissance Man” as the inspiration for its annual Leonardo Challenge, now in its 22nd year.

This upcoming event, on Thursday, April 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., is entitled “Imagination in Focus,” a celebration of the inventor par excellence and a unique fundraiser for the community to enjoy.  Every year one hundred artists from all over the country are invited to take a common object, like keys, playing cards, rulers, wooden ice cream spoons or mirrors and design a mobile, toy, item of clothing or furniture, jewelry, painting, photograph, whatever they fancy.  The challenge for 2016 is a lens, a precursor 350 years later of the contact lens.  DaVinci’s sketches suggested that optics of the human eye could be altered by placing the cornea in direct contact with water.

According to the invitation’s cleverness which opens to form a Camera Obscura, a box with a lens, one created by the Eli Whitney Museum’s Associate Director Sally Hill, the artisans are encouraged to use their “wit, whimsy and artistry.” Their creations will be on display and available for purchase in a silent auction, remaining on site for visitors to admire, at the museum’s home, 915 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, on the border of New Haven for several weeks.  Proceeds from the event will fund scholarships for children to attend activities and camps throughout the year.

A banquet worthy of your culinary delights will include fine wines and spirits, international cheeses from Caseus and brews from their Black Hog Brewery, the artistry of Doug Coffin’s Kitchens and the amazing treats of pizza fired up in the Big Green Truck, the crusty confections of Whole G’s artisan bakers of breads with old world charm, the nature inspired organic blessings of Small Kitchen, Big Taste and the special indulgences that spell Koffee and Koffee Cocktails.

Tickets to this most special event are $75 and can be secured by going online to www.eliwhitney.org/7/exhibitions/imagination-focus or by calling Naseema Mohammed at 203-777-1833.  Where else can you go to celebrate a grand inventor, feast on gourmet delights, peruse and purchase unique artworks, contribute to a worthy cause for budding inventor/artists and have one whale of a great time?  The Leonardo Challenge offers them all.

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