Da Vinci exhibit to put Bradenton Auditorium to more use

jtate@bradenton.comAugust 28, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Bradenton city officials will get more use than usual out of the Bradenton Auditorium and gain more revenue in hosting the Da Vinci exhibit for six months.

The exhibit, which opens Nov. 15, will feature inventions by the world's most famous artist, Leonardo da Vinci.

Dave Gustafson, director of the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, said the six-month stay will put the venue to more use than it has had in previous years.

"The facility is booked 60 days out of 365 days," said Gustafson.

Average yearly losses are up to $200,000.

Gustafson assured the exhibit would not cost the city money. He said it would increase revenue for the auditorium.

"There are so many win-wins," said Gustafson. "This is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to raise the bar."

Bradenton city officials could not be reached to commit on how much the city will profit from the partnership.

The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau budgeted $10,000 for advertising for each month the exhibit will run for a total of $60,000.

"The deal is for every month that it's at the auditorium, we will put up $10,000 worth of equity to promote the downtown area and Da Vinci exhibit," said Elliott Falcione, CVB executive director.

The CVB is working with local businesses to put together package deals to promote the exhibit. The deals will include a two-for-one price for the Da Vinci exhibit and the South Florida Museum.

"We believe Bradenton has so many unique amenities that the visitors will stay a night or two," said Falcione.

Executive Manager Debbie Meihls said the CVB just received budget approval Monday so there are still many details to work out.

"We don't have it all planned

out, but the typical media will be included," said Meihls.

Falcione said the CVB will advertise in the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Orlando markets and exhibit directors will handle local advertising.

"We want visitors to enjoy this and also go to the Riverwalk, the South Florida Museum or Manatee Players," Falcione said.

Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.

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