December 5, 2023


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The First Ever Da Vinci Fest Live, A Celebration Of Art And Science, Comes To Philadelphia This October

The event is held October 22 through October 29, 2020.

The First Ever Da Vinci Fest Live, A Celebration Of Art And Science, Comes To Philadelphia This October

The Da Vinci Art Alliance has announced details for their first ever Da Vinci Fest Live, a celebration of art and science, coming to Philadelphia from October 22 through October 29, 2020. Through online programs for adults and youth, installed exhibitions, a competitive Derby race, an art-market, and a brand new mural, Da Vinci Fest Live showcases the innovation, diversity, and artistry that makes Philadelphia so vibrant. Famous for paintings, such as the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, Da Vinci also possessed a genius for technology, astronomy, engineering, botany, and more. With the collaboration of local partners, Da Vinci Fest Live celebrates how creativity manifests itself at the intersection of disciplines through online experiences, exhibitions, and creative activities for the public. Originally planned as an in-person festival and then upgraded to include interactive virtual experiences, everyone can participate in the festival safely and at their leisure.

“We are thrilled to welcome the community to experience the first ever Da Vinci Fest Live,” said Jarrod Markman, Da Vinci Art Alliance’s Executive Director. “Leonardo da Vinci challenged people to ask big questions, ponder complex ideas and experiment. Often described as a polymath, Da Vinci was an individual whose knowledge spanned a significant number of subjects, drawing on complex bodies of knowledge to better solve specific problems. Da Vinci Fest Live embodies this multidisciplinary and multicultural spirit by creating a platform for diverse ideas, subjects, and people to mingle. We believe the process of art-making is an accessible unifier, when paired with the sciences, creates an environment of unbridled possibility.”

Da Vinci Fest Live will kick-off with a live-stream broadcast at 6:30pm on October 22nd. Leslie Gudel, Philadelphia’s first female sportscaster, will give a play-by-play narration of the Da Vinci Derby where Philadelphians of all ages will race their derby car creations for awards in speed and creativity. Throughout the live-stream, viewers will be able to preview content from the artists, designers, teachers, scientists, astronomers, and inventors from the Da Vinci Fest Live HIVE, browse the items in the MARKET, and see the brand new MURAL on our building. The livestream can be accessed by visiting

The Exhibits

Da Vinci Fest’s in-person exhibits will be presented at a variety of locations throughout South Philadelphia’s Catharine Street and online. Social distancing and appropriate safety measures will be implemented to ensure the health and well-being for those who attend. Additionally, all of the exhibits also include in-depth virtual coverage for guests that wish to experience the exhibits at home. All the Da Vinci Fest Live exhibits will be audio described in partnership with Art Reach for people who are blind, all in english and some in spanish. These experiences are all free.

The Endless Urban Portrait | Da Vinci Art Alliance, Gallery 1, 704 Catharine St.

Investigate Philadelphia’s architectural past and present through this collaborative exhibition by DVAA members, Jefferson University’s College of Architecture and the Built Environment students, faculty, and alumni, and PEW Fellow, Lisa Marie Patzer. Through a tabletop cityscape, a video installation exploring machine intelligence, and a historical wallpaper installation, a common vision of Philadelphia’s future is found.

Inquisitives | Da Vinci Art Alliance, Gallery 2, 704 Catharine St.

Six artists with a background in science come together to exhibit new work that reveals the interconnectedness of their scientific and artistic processes. As artists and scientists, Barbara Bix MD, Bennett Lorber MD, Christine Stoughton PhD, Joellyn Ross PhD, Linda Dubin Garfield EdD, and Pia De Girolamo MD prove that science and art aren’t all that different after all.

Exquisite Copse | Philadelphia Sculptors At Palumbo Park, 723 Catharine St.

This temporary exhibition of sculptures features twelve artworks that will pop out from the bushes, hang from the trees, and creep along the walkways. True to the spirit of both Leonardo da Vinci and the Surrealists, the artworks by Clifford Bailey, Ken Beidler, Patrick Cabry, David Deakin, Karen Izzi, Leslie Kaufman, Gregory Laut, Carole Loeffler, Rebecca Schultz, Bina Shah, Naomi Teppich, and Nina Valdera will delight, engage, and mystify.

The Astronomy Of David Rittenhouse | The Library Company Of Philadelphia, Online

This curated selection of historical books investigates the life and ideas of David Rittenhouse as a prominent astronomer, clockmaker, mathematician, and scientific instrument craftsman. Bill Green of the Philly Moon Men in collaboration with The Library Company of Philadelphia presents these curated books on The Library Company website and in the Da Vinci Fest Live

Everyday Genius | Da Vinci Art Alliance, Gallery X, Online

This exhibition of portraiture by the drawing robot Henri celebrates the unsung acts of leadership and creativity that make Philadelphia so vibrant. Just like walking through a video game, you can explore Everyday Genius in Gallery X from your desktop computer or smart device.

The Da Vinci Derby

The Da Vinci Derby brings together artists, engineers, and inventors of all ages after transforming a 7″ block of wood into a Derby Car to compete for awards in speed and creativity. Using free Derby Starter Kits provided by Da Vinci Art Alliance, participants engineered, assembled, and personalized a Derby Car that will race on a custom track created by Bresslergroup, broadcasted at Da Vinci Fest Live on October 22, 2020 at 6:30pm. We will see cars made by kids, adults, scientists, artists, and innovators from all walks of life. The derby track was designed and fabricated by the Bresslergroup and a series of volunteers. The track is 8 lanes and 25 feet long

Leslie Gudel, Philadelphia’s first female sportscaster, will give a play-by-play narration of the Da Vinci Derby alongside Bresslergroup product engineer Leroy Sibanda.

The Mural: “innovation Lights The Way”

Innovation Lights the Way uses the scientific approach of expanding on ideas that have come before by pulling imagery, textures, and ideas from different sources and sewing them together in the style of collage. In their first mural design, artist team Sammy Kovnat and Maria Roman chose to focus on the diverse South Philadelphia neighborhood and highlight the connectivity that the Da Vinci Art Alliance strives to create within the community. This new mural solidifies the Da Vinci Art Alliance as a hub for arts and connectivity by merging the fields that Leonardo da Vinci spent his lifetime exploring with our local history and landmarks.

“This mural was as much of a journey for us to create as we hope you will have when viewing it,” said Kovnat and Roman. “We worked hard to honor the community in all its forms: past, present, and future, as well as its influences. In a way, this mural is just a page in a story, the story of a community coming together to look to the future for good health, happiness, and creative and scientific innovation.”

Through a partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia, the new mural will be installed on the side of the Alliance’s building at 704 Catharine Street by October 11. Innovation Lights the Way is made possible by Mural Arts in partnership with Friends of Palumbo Park, Fleisher Art Memorial, and Bella Vista Neighbors Association.

The Market

Da Vinci Art Alliance was named “Best Place for Affordable Art” by Philadelphia Magazine in 2019. In that spirit, Da Vinci Fest Live will feature several online opportunities where visitors can collect art objects for under $500 and virtually bid on services and experiences to support local businesses.

The Art Bazaar

The Art Bazaar features work for sale from local artists on our virtual Market platform. The artwork will be in multiple mediums and themes, but will all be available for under $500.

The Silent Auction

The Silent Auction houses deals from local restaurants and neighborhood businesses, plus goods and services provided by DVAA Members such as portrait photography and art management consulting.

The Hive

There are so many artists, scientists, teachers, and organizations that make Philadelphia a hub for interdisciplinary innovation. The Hive is a curated collection of videos, participatory art activities, educational tools for creators, artist talks, self-guided experiences, and more. All experiences are free unless otherwise noted.

Crafting Paper Lanterns | Visual Artist, Juan Tang Hon

Craft a simple paper-lantern while learning about traditions and cultures of your South Philadelphia neighbors. Juan Tang Hon will guide participants through the process using colored paper, scissors, glue, and a ruler.

The Dollar Store Derby | FunScienceDemos

Learn about the physics behind creating a derby car. Using everyday items, you too can create a competitive derby car with the help of energy, friction, and some scientific tips.

Reimagining Movement in our City | Indego Bike

From perpetual motion machines to race cars, wheels help us move through our communities. In our modern society, how has cycling shaped our relationship to the city of Philadelphia? Through this video, viewers will learn key cycling laws and safety tips for new riders, how the bike share system works, and experience the sense of independence that comes with navigating the city by bicycle.

When Science is Art | Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion

Explore insect identity and ecology with Philadelphia’s newest science museum. Showcasing one of the most diverse living arthropod collections in the United States, the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion teaches individuals about the ecology of the most important group of animals in the world: insects.

Ideas Waiting to be Born | NextFab

The napkin-sketcher, the day job dreamer, the weekend warrior, the small business starter, the expert craftsman, the professional placemaker. Inside each of us, there’s an idea waiting to be born. Learn how members of NextFab work and what they make.

Belquer’s Kabinet of Curiosities | Daniel Belquer

Discover the intricacies of Daniel Belquer’s artistic practice where he creates technology that enables the deaf to interact with music through vibrations and more.

Astronomers Land on South Street | Philly Moon Men

Explore how scientific outreach has evolved to accommodate a new digital age. The Philly Moon Men broadcast a view of the Moon via television screen rather than telescope, to be seen by visitors from a distance on South Street.

Chromatography Parachute for Toys | Visual Artist, Chelsey Luster from Play Arts

Using washable markers and coffee filters, participants will learn the science behind chromatography and attach lightweight materials to make their own parachute. Once the parachute is complete, participants can try attaching different toys and objects to it to see how it affects the fall.

Mother of Invention | First Person Arts and DVAA

Storytelling and visual art converge in this virtual story slam and visual art installation. On September 22nd at 7:30pm, artist Patricia Moss-Vreeland will project images of her artwork to poets’ personal stories of innovation and creation. These stories will be archived in THE HIVE.

Cultural Symbolism in Public Art | DVAA, Fleisher, and Mural Arts

Join a live Zoom conversation with Magda Martinez (Mural Arts), Gerard Silva (Fleisher Art Memorial) and Jarrod Markman (Da Vinci Art Alliance) to discuss the symbolism in the new mural “Innovation Lights the Way” on October 27th, 7pm – 8pm.

Fusing Fields | The Inquisitives & Moderator Marianne Mitchell

Artists from the exhibition The Inquisitives: At the Intersection of Art and Science will discuss the interconnection of art and science by tracing how art has responded to and anticipated scientific discoveries; how making art and viewing art with care enhance observational and diagnostic skills; and how making and viewing art produces physiological changes that positively impact physical and mental health.

Sidewalk Talk | The Philly Moon Men

The Philly Moon Men were not the first to place a telescope on a sidewalk. In fact, sidewalk astronomy has been a tradition for as long as telescopes have been around. Explore how the efforts of science outreach has evolved to accommodate a new world living in a digital age with the Philly Moon Men Bill and Brendan as they broadcast a view of the Moon via television screen to be seen by all from a distance.

Da Vinci’s Moon Calendar | The Philly Moon Men

Use a print-out calendar to discover more about the Moon. Make discoveries about the Moon with just your eyes. Join The Philly Moon Men each night of the Festival as they observe and sketch the phases of the Moon and learn more about its orbit around the Earth.

Sketch and Scope | Philly Moon Men and DVAA

In this outdoor, socially-distanced astronomy and art course, students are provided with a live broadcast of the moon, fed from a telescope into a television. After Philly Moon Men teach participants about our Earth’s Moon, artist Eddy Rhenals-Narvaez will lead a shading study to render its shadows and craters, just as Galileo did. Participants will experience familiar surroundings from a new perspective and strengthen their relationship with public spaces and each other. (October 23 and 25, evening (rain dates TBA), $20 per person, limited to 5 people per night.)

Trail Off | Swim Pony, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Toasterlab

Literally walk a mile in another’s shoes with TrailOff, the new mobile app that brings users into a cutting edge artistic experience with immersive artwork, GPS-triggered technology “magic” and a contemplative connection to nature. Through 10 original audio dramas by local authors written specifically for Philadelphia’s trails, this genre-defying experience evokes a conversation between the lush visuals external landscape and the internal sonic world.

Chat: Augmented nature | Trail Off, Swim Pony, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Toasterlab, and DVAA

TrailOff uses phone technology to transport users into an augmented reality world that syncs to movements as the user walks a trail. In this chat, DVAA will explore the technology that went into making the app and learn more about how game design, immersive storytelling, and nature intersect.

The festival is thanks in part to a generous grant from PNC Arts Alive. “Through PNC Arts Alive, we continue to help invigorate local arts organizations while bringing new and exciting programs to our community,” said Joe Meterchick, PNC regional president for Philadelphia, Delaware and Southern New Jersey. “The creativity and collaboration demonstrated by the local arts community is evident in the programs that will be introduced, while enabling new visitors and residents alike to experience a diverse range of exhibits and performances.” Additional leading support for Da Vinci Fest Live has been provided by Temple University College of Science and Technology and NextFab.

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