Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is mixing philanthropy with publicity for the release of the DVD of ``The Da Vinci Code'' tomorrow.
Company executives hired the artist Tracy Lee Stum to create a huge chalk replica of Leonardo da Vinci's ``The Last Supper'' and donated the work to the New York Foundation for the Arts. The Manhattan-based arts group is auctioning the piece online and will name the highest bidder by the end of the week. The painting was unveiled yesterday in the atrium of Trump Tower in New York and is on display to the public today and tomorrow.
The New York Foundation for the Arts funds artists and artistic groups in all disciplines across the country. The group was selected because of its work in raising awareness of the arts, said Fritz Friedman, senior vice president of worldwide publicity at Sony Pictures.
``They have a certain cachet,'' he said. Sony Pictures is a division of Sony Corp. of America, which is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corp.
Friedman joined Stum, Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka, Jurgen Prochnow, an actor in ``The Da Vinci Code'' and representatives of the foundation at the event. A representative of Guinness World Records was on hand to proclaim the replica, at 17.5 feet by 34 feet, the largest chalk rendering in the world. (Da Vinci's painting is 15 feet by 29 feet).
Sixty Pounds of Chalk
Frank Sonntag, director of development for the foundation, said all arts groups struggle with raising money and getting their names known, so he's pleased Sony Pictures chose his organization as the beneficiary of the tie-in for the movie's DVD. ``It's hard to get this kind of publicity,'' he said.
Sonntag said there isn't an opening bid for the online auction, which began today, but he hopes the work will fetch a minimum of $25,000. ``I would rather be pleasantly surprised,'' he said.
Stum, 45, is a muralist based in Ventura, California. Since 1998, she has participated in numerous street painting festivals -- from Santa Barbara, California, to Florence, Italy, to Hong Kong. She said she donates a portion of her proceeds to a number of nonprofits.
``The arts get marginalized,'' she said. ``Artists need to be proactive in that area. I love working with nonprofits. You have to give back in some way.''
She worked 12 hours a day for three weeks to finish the replica. It was created on 25 panels and later assembled. Stum used 60 pounds of chalk, and the work weighs 2,000 pounds. She said it has been sprayed with a sealant for preservation but its owner should keep it behind glass to prevent disintegration.
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