The Leonardo, which last popped its head up more than a year ago with the successful 'Body Worlds' exhibition that had Salt Lake City talking about the delights of plasticised cadavers for months, appears to have found favor with one of this town's largest philanthropists.
According to word on the street, the Sorenson Foundation is donating The Leonardo, a self-proclaimed science, technology and arts center, $600,000. This is a far cry from the not-so-distant days when The Leo, an ambitious museum in the planning for ten years, was courting the foundation, one of this town's biggest philanthropists, in hope of securing as much as $20 million. Now, though it seems the Sorenson Foundation may have found far less grandiose numbers to be more palatable.
The issue dogging The Leonardo arguably from its shaky inception has always been one of conception. What is it going to be and why should Salt Lakers flock to it when it hopefully opens in 2011 in the former library building on Library Square? Fund raising for essentially an abstract idea was never easy and led The Leonardo into some highly questionable terrain, as explored in my cover story, Will smile for cash, three years ago.
A spokesman for The Sorenson companies promised to get back shortly for comment.
Update, 4:55 p.m.: The donation of $600,000 has been confirmed. In a news release, James Lee Sorenson, a trustee with the foundation said:
“The Sorenson Legacy Foundation is pleased to offer its support of this important project. We appreciate The Leonardo’s dedication to supporting education, art and science, and are particularly excited to be part of bringing this educational center to Utah.”