July 10, 2015

Painted carnival banners, photographs, sculptures and film screenings are on display at the UCF Art Gallery July 16 – August 29. The exhibition tells the story of the exciting, imaginative, and dissapearing world of the carnival sideshow.

The banners on display range in size with the largest spanning an entire wall of the gallery with 50 x 22 feet of painted funhouse clown characters. Other characters on display include a bearded lady, a lobster boy, and a half man/half seal.

The free exhibition will be opening on Thursday, July 16, from 6-8 p.m. and will be on display through August 29.

Additional film screenings and other collaborations:

  • “Freaks” (1932) August 25, 6-8 p.m. in VAB 132
    In the film, the carnival “freaks” are inherently trusting and honorable people, while the real monsters are two of the “normal” members of the circus who are part of a conspiracy.
    This cult classic features Harry and Daisy Earles, Daisy and Violet Hilton, Johnny Eck, Prince Randian, and Frances O’Connor.
  • “Sideshow: Alive on the Inside.” (1999) August 26, 6-8 p.m. in VAB 132
    This documentary looks at the world of the circus and carnival sideshows, and how the headliners found happiness in their careers.
  • Closing Reception/Guest Appearance August 6-8 p.m. in the UCF Art Gallery
    Guest appearances by Johnny Meah, one of the last banner painters and a veteran sideshow performer, and impresario Ward Hall, both featured in the documentary shorts to be shown at the gallery. There will also be a book signing by Johnny Meah.
    There will be cotton candy, corn dogs and catering by 4Rivers Smokehouse.
  • “A Look at the Sideshow” performance August 29, 4 p.m. in the UCF Art Gallery
    A piece written and directed by UCF’s Be Boyd and John Shafer. The play portrays the challenging lives of real sideshow performers such as John Merrick, The Elephant Man; Annie Jones, The Bearded Lady; Francesco A. Lentini, The Three-legged Wonder; and Grady Stiles, Lobster Boy.

You can find more information on the UCFToday news article and on the UCF Art Gallery exhibition page.