Circus, Circus, Circus……..

 

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I live and work in a city that was the heart of the circus for decades.  John Ringling moved the circus winter quarters to Sarasota in 1927 in an attempt to bring notoriety to a city devastated by the real estate bust and mending from the hurricane of 1926.  He most definitely succeeded!  Until very recently, if you opened any Florida guide book it touted Sarasota as the home of the circus.

I love doing art related to the circus.  In the past I’ve had the honor of being commissioned to create art for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus and for The World Circus Federation.

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With less than a two week window, I designed and installed a 78 foot mural on the front of Robarts Sports Arena.  It was the return of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey® Circus to Sarasota after a long lapse.  The Gold Tour was premiering its newest show.  It was January 17, 2008.

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As many Januarys go in Florida, 2008’s was a chilly one with temperatures down in the 40’s and gusting winds.  The weather was indeed a challenge for us as was the climb up and down ladders and onto scaffolding several times a day – especially for me, I’m a ninny about heights.

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Photo credit: Rob Mattson, Sarasota Herald Tribune

Yes, that is me sitting on the cold metal scaffold platform detailing the elephant’s harness just hours before the official opening.

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In 2008 the sports arena had seen better days.  The mural was to be temporary – to spruce up the building for the premier.  It was expected the arena would be demolished to make way for a new facility any day.  Seven years have passed and the building still stands along with the “temporary,” not too shabby mural.

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The Circus Ring of Fame announced its inductees for 2015, whose names and biographies will be featured on plaques in St. Armands Circle.   Among the inductees are: H.S.H. Prince Rainier of Monaco, creator of the Circus Festival of Monte Carlo.  The ring was created to pay tribute to the performers and outstanding supporters of the circus.  It is located in Sarasota in the center of St. Armands Circle.  This Saturday, January 10th  the inductees and or their representatives will  join in a discussion about the circus at the Sailor Circus Arena.  The event is open to the public and begins at 9:30.  The induction ceremony takes place on Jan. 11 at 2pm at St. Armands Circle. The Sarasota Circus Band plays beforehand at 1:30.

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“Rehearsal” Commissioned for World Circus Day by Princess Stephanie of Monaco for the Federation Mondiale du Cirque

The Festival was founded by Prince Rainier III in recognition of the importance of circus arts as part of European and, indeed,world culture. It is held in Monaco in January every year.  I am so very honored to have been selected by Princess Stephanie to create this piece and to exhibit at the festival.

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