It is difficult for me to grasp the ending of The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. I’ve lived most of my life in the city that was distinctly shaped by and benefited tremendously from their presence since 1927.
The Greatest Show on Earth ends Sunday May 21, 2017.
John Ringling knew what he was doing when the Florida building bust devastated the city in the 1920’s. Moving his circus winter headquarters to Sarasota brought visitors and business to the city while much of the state continued to struggle through heavily depressed times.
With the winter quarters established in Sarasota it wasn’t long before every travel guide linked the city to the circus.
In the 1950’s entertainment attractions began popping up throughout Florida drawing visitors away from Sarasota and Ringling’s winter quarters circus performances. A grand metal entrance sign was erected to provide more visibility for attracting tourists to the quarters.
The circus has become a favorite subject for me to paint and has given me some outstanding commissions from Feld Entertainment and The World Circus Federation. Through these I’ve been privileged to get to experience some fantastic, behind the scene private tours including a visit to the exceptional sanctuary Feld Entertainment has provided for the elephants.
There are dozens of other circuses performing world wide but none will ever seem quite as great to me as the Greatest Show on Earth.
And just a note:
If the Ringling Museum Gift Shops are sold out of the Winter Quarters poster you can purchase them through my studio.