In Alphabetical Order

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The 26th Annual Leonardo Challenge: Re-Imagined

The Leonardo Challenge: In Alphabetical Order

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Thursday, May 19th 2022 | 5:30-9pm | 915 Whitney Avenue
Tickets Available at the Door on the Day of the Event.
Online Ticket Sales will NOT be available after 5.16.22
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Collected in over 28,000 pages of writing, Leonardo Da Vinci wrote of his exploration in sophisticated mirrored script. He asked questions and made observations. On the printing press, which had been invented before his time, Leonardo saw an invention in need of improvements — of which became fundamental to the exchange of knowledge.

In his notebooks of drawings and designs, Leonardo used script to translate what otherwise could not be understood.

The Benefit

We are pleased to reintroduce the Leonardo Challenge after a two-year hiatus. Leonardo Da Vinci — artist, inventor, and scientist — drew interest from one subject and applied his discoveries to the next. His intense curiosity in all things profoundly impacted visual arts, scientific theories, and modern logic. The Leonardo Challenge embraces his nature of improvisational creativity. Like Leonardo, local artists will transform a common subject — this year, letters — into uncommon creations.

On May 19th, we invite you to our site, once again. A vibrant art auction will be held indoors, and a delicious spread of treats — from Olmo, Black Hog Brewery, the Wine Thief, Bloom, Koffee, Whole G Breads, the Big Green Pizza Truck, and Small Kitchen Big Taste — served outdoors, along with music from The Bluegrass Characters. Funds raised by donors and artists will support the museum's efforts in teaching Leonardo's idea of improvisational creativity to k-12 learners, dedicated apprentices, and in the Greater New Haven community.


Letters of the alphabet, characters, and symbols — are the atoms we use to share our perceptions of the world. We use letters to create sounds, meaning, connection, community, and art.

26 letters make up the modern English alphabet, although the ampersand is the debated 27th. 26 letters create an estimated 171,146 English words used today. However, in our world of shapes that are drawn, spoken, signed, formed, and arranged, the modern English alphabet stands amongst roughly 7,000 unique languages in the world.

Like people and society, languages and their letters evolve. We adapt from others, allowing us to learn and create beyond the limits of writing systems associated with the 26 English letters, the 28 Arabic letters, the 24 Greek letters, the 85 characters in the Cherokee syllabary, the over 6,000 characters used to write Chinese, and many others. At their most elemental, letters represent sounds. Placed together, they give way to meaning.

What do letters mean to you?

The Artists' Challenge

To be in alphabetical order means to read between the lines and to be intentional, impactful, and honest.

Why is A first and Z last?

The need for common language brought order and equal ground to societies' communication. With a list of letters, characters, or symbols, any person has strength in words. Today, the use of letters and words is more powerful than ever.

An essential tool in our daily lives is now a necessary ingredient in your creation. In constructions of bold sentiments, ironic messages, and imaginative perspectives, celebrate the force of letters.

Single Ticket: $75

Symbols: $250
Includes 2 benefit tickets, 1 enamel pin, & 1 T-shirt. Underwrites a workshop project. Acknowledged in online catalog.

Sounds: $500
Includes 4 benefit tickets, 2 enamel pins, & 2 T-shirts. Underwrites a community outreach project. Acknowledged in online catalog.

Dialect: $1,250
Includes 4 benefit tickets, 2 enamel pins, & 2 T-shirts. Underwrites a designated workshop & scholarship. Acknowledged in print, press release & online catalog.

Language: $2,500
Includes 6 benefit tickets, 2 enamel pins, & 2 T-shirts. Underwrites a designated workshop & scholarship. A meeting to focus, direct and then assess the impact of your gift. Acknowledged in print, press release & online catalog.

Dictionary: $5,000+
Includes unlimited benefit tickets, 4 enamel pins & 4 T-shirts. Acknowledged in print, press release & online catalog. Underwrites a designated workshop & scholarship. A meeting to focus, direct and then assess the impact of your gift.

This event is made possible by sponsors from our local community. Sponsor and underwriter support is invaluable to helping the Eli Whitney Museum & Workshop offer scholarships to students in our programs year-round. We would like to thank the following sponsors (to date) for their generosity and encouragement.

Alexandra Shor & John Bianchi
The David Carter Family
Bob Buckholz & Anne Fontaine
Wiggin and Dana, LLP.
Kiran Zaman & Sabooh Mubbashar
The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven
Odyssey Associates, LLC.
Arts Council for Greater New Haven
Diane Daskal Ruben & Harvey L. Ruben
The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation
Mary Grey Maher
Dorothy Helaine Patterson
Zelie Pforzheimer
Jack & Gloria Kurek
Bob & Carla Horwitz
Jennifer Levin-Tavares
Eric & Ethel Berger
Susanna Holahan
Douglas Stone
Mary Lee Barker & Robert Perelman
Patrice McCarthy & Don Kirshbaum
Anne & Nick Afragola
Brian Tobin
Meghan & George Knight
Richard & Beverly Anderson
Ray Fair
Michael Vieth
Laura Clarke
Trina Kurek & Joe Romo
Lynne Hawkins

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