A few weeks ago I took the kids on a field trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum…hey, did you know that admission is free?!? All you have to pay for is parking! We love to take little mini-trips over to the Art Museum to explore all of the fascinating pieces of art and fun exhibits that they have. Most recently we went to see the Circus Poster exhibit. I had heard a lot of buzz about this display and I couldn’t wait to see it. If you think about it, the role of a circus poster is a large and important one. That one poster has to not only promote the show, and provide the details, but, the posters must convey the magic & excitement of the show. The circus posters need to draw people in and make even the most stoic of folks want to be a child again. Today’s circus posters are all glitz and glam – flashy advertisements that catch one’s eye. But there’s something quite special about the circus posters of years ago. The Circus Poster Exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum provides a glimpse into the past, when sideshows were all the rage, and people were shooting out of canons. After browsing the exhibit the kids and I left wanting to go to the circus! The posters reminded us of all the fun and excitement of the three ring shows. Be sure to check out the exhibit before it ends in July, you won’t be disappointed. And while you are there, grab some of the free Circus Posters they have for the kids to color at home. My kids had a blast decorating their own posters!
Here’s some more information about the exhibit from the Art Museum’s press release:
Dashing daredevils, soaring trapeze artists, comic clowns – all make a grand appearance at the Cincinnati Art Museum in the spring. The Amazing American Circus Poster includes rare and unique examples from the Cincinnati Art Museum’s own collection, shown for the first time. The exhibition will be on view from February 26 through July 10, 2011.
On display in a fantasy gallery reminiscent of the “Big Top” will be eighty circus posters created between 1879 and 1938, along with photographs and circus ephemera. The exhibition will pay tribute to the internationally acclaimed Cincinnati-based Strobridge Lithographing Company, which created and printed the posters and was the leading printer for the major circuses of the time. The posters designed by the firm’s artists were unrivaled for their brilliant color, print quality, and graphic description of the acts and action. They give us a detailed portrait of the heyday of the American circus, spanning from the time of P.T. Barnum’s circus until the early years of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey. The vivid images and persuasive words reflect the important role outdoor advertising played for circuses, which flourished as vital forms of cultural entertainment across the country.