Wednesday, April 19, 2017



 Imagine a world without daffodils, daisies or day lilies, a landscape bereft of tulips, orchids, sunflowers or roses.  An earth without the beauty and color and fragrance of flowers is unacceptable.  This year, for the 23rd time, the Eli Whitney Museum's unique tribute to the original Renaissance Man Leonardo da Vinci, the annual Leonardo Challenge fundraiser will pay tribute to the blossoms and buds of the flowering world.

This technicolor world, "Leonardo in Bloom," will take place Thursday, April 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the museum, 915 Whitney Avenue, Hamden.  This innovative event will be dedicated to raising scholarships for children to attend the museum's stimulating activities throughout the year on site.

Leonardo da Vinci is known for his imaginative inventions as well as his skills in the world of mathematics, architecture, music, anatomy, science, engineering and writing.  In addition, his talents as a painter were also a passion and he used his skills wisely, from drawing items as concrete as a helicopter and as ephermal as a hyacinth. 

From the time Leonardo was a teenager of fourteen, he pursued his love of the arts as an apprentice to Vercocchio, one of the most successful artists of the time.  Legend has it that the student was so far superior to his teacher that Vercocchio retired his brushes and never painted again.  The young man's powers in botany led him to his famed flower studies that include the lily, narcissus, columbine, carnation and Star of Bethlehem.  

Flowers exude a language of their own and the Eli Whitney Museum's Leonardo Challenge is stirring artists across the country to contribute a creation of their own, in a painting, a mobile, clothing design, jewelry, game, piece of furniture, the possibilities are endless.

According to the museum's associate director Sally Hill, who is also the principal designer of the event, "No matter how many years we've been doing this, we are always blown away by the creativity of each year's entries. This year has not disappointed.”  Once again, Hill will contribute an innovative lamp to the auction items. 
On Thursday, April 27, the artist's contributions will be on display in a silent auction, ready for bidding.  As participants bid, they will listen to the medieval music of Billy Fischer and Mickie Koth, strollers, and enjoy the culinary offerings of such food delights as Small Kitchen, Big Taste’s organic fare, flowered salads made by Two Guys from Woodbridge,  Doug Coffin’s Big Green Truck Pizza, Whole G’s artisan bakers, cheeses from Fromagerie Caseus  and the liquid libations from  Koffee Kocktails and Black Hog Brewery as well as Chocolate Spectacular desserts from Tariq and Asma Farid of Edible Arrangements.      .

For tickets ($75, with supporters at $250 violet, $500 lily, $1250 aster and $2500 orchid), go to or

Come enjoy the new garden that will be planted in all its artistic finery  at this year's Leonardo Challenge and plan to pluck an offering to take home, all in a worthy cause of educating our youth in thought provoking experiences and experiments of invention and design.


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