In case you've been holding off going to The Leonardo until you read about it in City Weekly, you may be in for a wait. The science-technology center that hopes to be Salt Lake City's answer to the Exploratorium in San Francisco opened its doors at the old Salt Lake City library building on Oct. 8. It inexplicably has made a point not to invite City Weekly to its grand-opening functions (although staffer Austen Diamond did resort to inviting himself to a pre-opening press conference and blogged about it here).
The "diss" is naturally related to our past coverage of the museum's rocky road to realization. Staff writer Stephen Dark's "Will Smile for Cash" in August 2007 and subsequent features have called into question the museum's business plan and funding (of which taxpayers are on the hook for a $10.2 million bond and, this summer, for a $600,000 loan from the city). Such articles no doubt strained relations. But while we have scrutinized The Leonardo's operation in our news pages, stories about it in our arts & entertainment section, where grand-opening coverage would have been placed, are few and far between. Why didn't they tap us for a cover story, as many a "game changer" attempts to do? Or work with our marketing department to kick off a ticket promotion?
For an organization whose launch has been modest, to say the least, with little in the way of ads and promotions, the critical buzz of free publicity is the best The Leonardo can hope for. The early marketing of this venture will make it or break it. To purposefully avoid reaching out to City Weekly's intelligent and youthful readership in an effort to punish us should give everyone pause.
Really, what would a Renaissance Man do? What would someone who'd like this not to be a waste of taxpayer dollars do?