Make us your home page
Instagram

Da Vinci and Michaelangelo at University Mall? Call it a renaissance

A glider built from Leonardo da Vinci’s schematic designs is one of the dozens of pieces found at the exhibit in University Mall.

JOSHUA MCMORROW-HERNANDEZ | Special to the Times

A glider built from Leonardo da Vinci’s schematic designs is one of the dozens of pieces found at the exhibit in University Mall.

TAMPA — University Mall has more than 100 stores offering everything from clothes to electronics to jewelry.

Now it also has a place offering multimedia insight into Michelangelo's iconic statue David, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and many of da Vinci's ingenious inventions.

The "Da Vinci & Michelangelo: Titans Experience" exhibit opened at the mall with fanfare Feb. 24 and will run through May.

Occupying a 13,500-square-foot space that formerly fielded several retailers, including Old Navy and B. Dalton Bookseller, organizers expect the exhibit to draw thousands of guests over the coming months.

But what do Michelangelo, da Vinci, and University Mall all have in common? According to Tampa Innovation Alliance executive director Mark Sharpe, who's hoping to revive the 42-year-old mall, the common thread can be described in one word: renaissance.

"That's what an innovation district is," Sharpe said. "It's a capstone of what will be the renaissance of the whole area.

"What we're trying to do is inspire young people to change the world. Who better to inspire us to create than Michelangelo and da Vinci?"

University Mall sits right in the heart of the North Tampa neighborhood that former County Commissioner Sharpe and partners of the Tampa Innovation Alliance hope to see reborn with new development, new opportunity and new ideas, just as Michelangelo and da Vinci's 14th and 15th century Italy experienced during the Renaissance period.

Both men created hundreds of works, many of which were ahead of the time. For example, da Vinci drew detailed sketches of a kitelike glider flying machine some 300 years before brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright took flight in North Carolina. A glider built from da Vinci's schematic designs is just one of the dozens of pieces found at the exhibit.

It also features films, three-dimensional animations, and live presentations that help tell the story of the two renaissance-era geniuses and their creations.

Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture & the Arts executive director Susana Weymouth says bringing the exhibit to University Mall can help raise the visibility of both interests.

"Business is good for the arts, and art is good for business," she says.

Weymouth's organization hosts events that help raise funds for the local art community and also provides scholarships for students who seek degrees in a variety of artistic programs.

"I think what Mark (Sharpe) and the Tampa Innovation Alliance are doing is very important," Weymouth said. "Arts and culture are important economic contributors."

Curator Mark Rodgers has overseen the exhibit as it moved from the permanent museum of Leonardo da Vinci in Florence, Italy, to Denver and then to Tampa.

The showcase evolved in scope since coming to the United States, first highlighting only da Vinci's art and inventions, and later incorporating some of Michelangelo's works.

"I realized you can't talk about da Vinci without Michelangelo," Rodgers said. "Many people don't know that they were not only contemporaries but also fierce competitors.

"There has never been an exhibit or museum, that I am aware, that has ever compared or contrasted Da Vinci and Michelangelo in the same presentation."

Rodgers says that he and his colleagues were looking for just the right venue to host the exhibit and its multimedia components.

"This is one of our most beautiful setups," Rodgers said. "University Mall is a perfect fit for our museum-theatre concept."

Contact Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez at hillsnews@tampabay.com.

>>If you go

See their work side by side

"Da Vinci & Michelangelo Side by Side: The Greatest Machines and Art" runs through May at University Mall, 2200 E Fowler Ave. It's open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 6-9:15 p.m. on Friday; and noon to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9:15 p.m. on Saturday. Closed for tour groups Monday and Tuesday. All admission is $18.95 Friday through Sunday; Wednesdays and Thursdays, admission is $15.95 for adults, $13.95 for seniors, students and military, $11.95 for children 4-12. On Fridays and Saturdays, it's $18.95 for adults. For more information, go to

discoverdavinci.com.

Da Vinci and Michaelangelo at University Mall? Call it a renaissance 03/03/16 [Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2016 10:37am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 24

    Events

    Zac Brown Band: The country, folk and Southern rockers embark on the "Welcome Home" tour in support of the album. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $27.50-$77.50. (813) 740-2446.

    Handout photo of the Zac Brown Band, performing at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on 9/24/17. Credit: Shore Fire Media
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 23

    Events

    Smithsonian Museum Day Live: Museums across the nation partner with the Smithsonian to offer free admission for one day. Among them are Florida Holocaust Museum, Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs.Cracker Country in Tampa, Ringling Museum of Art. Note: Dalí Museum is free for Pinellas County …

    The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg is among the museums participating in the Smithsonian's Museum Day Live, offering free admission. (LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |  Special to the Times)
  3. Tampa Repertory's 'Flying' soars in some places, sputters in others

    Stage

    TAMPA — Tampa Repertory Theatre has always insisted on putting on plays that mean something. Several shows over the last couple of years have zeroed in on the social and cultural baggage that comes with being female (The Children's Hour, Silent Sky and Grounded come to mind). None of those …

    The Southeastern premiere of Flying, Sheila Cowley's play at Tampa Repertory Theatre about veterans of the Women's Air Force Service Pilots, includes (from left) Holly Marie Weber, Rosemary Orlando, and Becca McCoy. Photo by Megan Lamasney.
  4. After 22 years, it's last call for beloved Ybor venue New World Brewery

    Music & Concerts

    YBOR CITY — Steve Bird spreads his tools across a patio table. He has awnings to unbolt and paraphernalia to unpry, from the busted Bop City neon by the stage to the Simpsons "El Duffo o Muerte" mural in the courtyard. He'll uproot a fountain and dismantle a roof and attempt to keep his bar intact. The …

    Various decor and memorabilia fill the walls and shelves at New World Brewery in Ybor City.
Long time music venue and hangout New World Brewery in Ybor City will be closing it's doors and moving locations. Patrons enjoy one of the last events before New World Brewery changes its location to Busch Blvd in Tampa.  [Photo Luis Santana | Times]