Da Vinci show may extend its stay in Bradenton

mclear@bradenton.comMarch 7, 2014 

BRADENTON -- Leonardo Da Vinci may be sticking around Bradenton for a while.

The organizers of the Da Vinci Machines Exhibition have asked the city to extend their lease so the exhibition can stay at the Bradenton Auditorium through the July 4 weekend.

"We just got the request today," Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston said Thursday.

It's up to the city council whether the Da Vinci exhibition can stay. Poston said discussions could begin as early as the Wednesday council meeting.

"I'm intensely in favor of it," Poston said. "I probably shouldn't say that because I may be voting on it, but I

think it's a good thing for the city. I think it's a great thing for the city."

The Da Vinci Machines Exhibition features about 60 of his inventions, created by Florentine crafts people from drawings in Da Vinci's notebooks. It appeared in St. Louis and Denver before Rodgers and his brother, John, brought it to Bradenton in November last year.

It was originally slated to stay at the auditorium through April 15, but its run already has been extended through May 18 because of its popularity. It has drawn visitors from as far away as Miami.

Mark Rodgers, exhibition curator, said Thursday he hopes to bring a similar exhibition focused on the works of Michelangelo to Bradenton in November. Poston said he had heard about that possibility, but for the moment the city is focusing on Da Vinci, not Michelangelo.

Rodgers has planned another event that will definitely happen. On March 23-24, he'll unveil a new multimedia show called "Da Vinci and Michelangelo -- Side by Side" at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. He said he hopes to bring the show to cities around the world after its premiere here.

"Da Vinci and Michelangelo were rivals," Rodgers said. "They hated each other."

The impetus for the show came from a popular exhibition the Rodgers brothers curated in Denver, which combined the Da Vinci Machines Exhibition with the same Michelangelo exhibit they hope to bring to Bradenton.

The new show parallels and contrasts the two Renaissance men and shows their influences on contemporary artists, including Van Cliburn and Paul McCartney.

Da Vinci, Rodgers said, was always stately and well-dressed.

Michelangelo, who grew up poor, would often sleep in his clothes so he'd have a few more minutes to work.

Also from the Da Vinci Machines Exhibition is a live art event this weekend. Local artist Jorde will create a painting inspired by the exhibition, accompanied by live music by Cary Chaney.

The live art event is set for noon to 3 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium, 1005 First Ave. W. It's free with admission to the exhibition -- $15.95 for adults, $13.95 for military and students, $11.95 for children 4-14, free for children younger than 4.

Tickets for "Da Vinci and Michelangelo -- Side by Side" are $19.95. Go to manateeplayers.org for tickets and discoverdavinci.com for information about the exhibition and related events.

Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.

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