The exhibit showcases an array of Leonardo da Vinci’s breadth of knowledge in the fields of science, art, music, and engineering. (Brian W. Carter/L.A. Sentinel)

The exhibit is one-of-a-kind and will inspire youth to dream and create.

The Sentinel was recently invited to the West Coast premiere of “LEONARDO DA VINCI: Inventor. Artist. Dreamer” and “Cities of the Future 3D” at the California Science Center. It was day of future wonders and ingenuity from the past, but I kept thinking about the present. These are the kinds of inspirations children of color need to see and realize their potential and dreams.

“Cities of the Future 3D” allows audiences, with the combined power of IMAX filmmaking and CGI, to step into the future and explore exciting innovations that will change the way we live forever. Narrated by award-winning actor John Krasinski, “Cities of the Future 3D” highlights the creative solutions engineers are designing right now to create a more sustainable future.

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Juxtaposed to the amazing, possible glimpses of the future, there was the “LEONARDO DA VINCI: Inventor. Artist. Dreamer.” offering creations from a man of the past. The exhibit displays models of Leonardo da Vinci’s innovations, hands-on experiences and reproductions of his notes and artwork, including the Last Supper. Massimiliano Lisa, co-founder, CEO and president of the board of directors of the Leonardo3 Museum in Milan, Italy spoke to the Sentinel about the exhibit.

“We have our own lab in Milano, Italy, where we studied Leonardo [for] 20 years,” said Lisa. “And we produced contents nobody else in the world does.”

Included in the exhibit are da Vinci’s flying machines such as the Flying Bicycle, Great Kite, and 33-foot Flying Eagle. (Brian W. Carter/L.A. Sentinel)

He continued, “We have physical reconstructions like for example the lion, which is really working and this is the only prototype in the world along with the one we have in Milano of the reproduction of the most important machine that Leonardo did and you can see it’s only here in LA.

“If you have kids, there are stations like the virtual paddle boat in the in the last room. You can enter physically in the paddle boat and then you have screens in the digital world where you paddle, moving in Milano in the 16th century.”

The exhibit showcases an array of da Vinci’s breadth of knowledge in the fields of science, art, music, and engineering as wells as futuristic inventions. Included in the exhibit are his flying machines such as the Flying Bicycle, Great Kite, and 33-foot Flying Eagle; along with the Mechanical Lion, the Great Organ, and more than a dozen full-scale models.

“The exhibition includes 30 models of Leonardo da Vincis’s innovations about 12 of them are life-size, which is wonderful,” said Dr. Diane C. Perlov senior vice president, special projects.

“They were made by Italian artisans, who really studied Leonardo’s notebooks and actually followed all of the specs and all of the material specs from Leonardo for instance especially in the flight section.

“He spec’s certain kinds of wood and the wings are out of linen often covered with wax, I mean they were very true and authentic to Leonardo’s many, many notes on every innovation and they’re fabulous.”

Guests will also see digitally restored reproductions of some of da Vinci’s iconic artwork and discover details lost forever in the actual masterpieces through displays that reveal how each painting would have appeared originally. Each reproduction is shown alongside interactive exhibits where visitors will learn more about the artwork and its restoration.

“Behind this exhibit, there are 20 years of our work,” said Lisa. “So, it’s really something and this is why we have a lot of success in the event in our country in Italy.

“Our museum is the most respected museum in Italy about Leonardo so, to offer our contents beyond Milano, we have created this touring exhibition which is touring the world and I’m sure L.A. will appreciate a lot.”

The exhibit displays reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s notes and artwork, including the Last Supper. (Brian W. Carter/L.A. Sentinel)

I found two people who were enjoying the exhibit a lot and carry a special appreciation for this kind of exhibit. Marissa Stillittano and Adam Daley are science teachers on special assignment for the Torrance Unified School District. They shared their thoughts on the exhibit and on some of the interesting inventions some of their students have designed.

“It’s phenomenal, we were just looking at the mechanical lion,” said Daley. “It’s really cool to be able to see the actual prototype and then the video of it working too.

“It’s kind of important to be able to see those aspects how they would actually move which we thought was kind of cool.”

“The imagination I think that’s something and a lot of these are wildly different from each other and dabble in all sorts of different aspects of life, not just one type of engineering and I think that’s neat to see how with this insight into the creative brain and how genius he was,” said Stillittano.

They shared one of their students, a 5th grade student, invented a device to apply grease to the scalp if you’re wearing braids or another inhibiting hair style. They also shared another student, a 3rd grade student, invented the “curly, girly helmet”, which allows girls or boys with a lot of hair or curly hair, to wear a protective helmet when riding a bike. It’s exhibits like da Vinci’s that can inspire kids to create.

“I think just seeing so many of these da Vinci never made, he was just drawing them down so, that’s like the initial phase that many of our students are going through in the engineering and design process, sketching things out and then building a prototype and seeing how you iterate what you have to change.

“They actually took da Vinci’s sketches and made them actually do what they’re intended to do is the next step and we’re actually listening to the gentleman just a couple of minutes ago saying how they took his sketches and made the model,” said Daley.

The paddle boat is an interactive recreation within the exhibit. (Brian W. Carter/L.A. Sentinel)

“LEONARDO DA VINCI: Inventor. Artist. Dreamer.” offers visions of the past with youth standing on the precipice of the future. This is a great opportunity to inspire children of color to discover the possibilities. So, if you’re looking for something to do this weekend or if you have a little engineer under you, bring them to the California Science Center and check out this exhibit.

“We feel like this exhibit is really inspirational because this is not about the genius of Leonardo because that could be very intimidating,” said Perlov. “It’s to celebrate his genius, but it’s to showcase something that is relevant to all of our lives that we can also observe the world that we’re in and experiment and use our creativity and our imagination or curiosity to better understand the world so those are the lessons that this exhibit gives for us today.”

“We invite people to come here and visit this exhibit because we are one-of-a-kind,” said Lisa.

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