Freeport Arts Center

Freeport, IL



Under the Big Top: Art of the Circus


The Freeport Arts Center will host a new exhibition August 13 through September 26, 1999 Under the Big Top: Art of the Circus features more than 20 hand-carved circus wagons by Freeportwe Cornelius Olloff. Olloff is a member of Circus Model Builders International and several local related groups. He and his wife, Eileen, have traveled to Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Ohio to take part in three-day group shows hosted by his clubs. This six-week exhibition will be the first time his circus wagons have been on display for more than a few days. (left: Hand-carved Circus Wagon by Cornelius Olloff, below right: John Robinson Calliope Wagon by Cornelius Olloff)

Olloff remarks, "I always liked the circus when I was a kid. When I lived on Pleasant Street, I had an older neighbor, Jack Lewis, who carved circus wagons. My first wagon was a copy of one of his wagons." Olloff's favorite of all his circus models is his Swan Wagon, which, like several of his wagons, is a replica of a real circus wagon at the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Under the Big Top also features fifteen authentic circus posters from Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, which is owned by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. It's the world's largest circus museum and theme park, covering 50 acres. Located at the original winter quarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus and considered by many to be the world's foremost circus history institution, Circus World Museum features "the world's greatest collection of colossal antique circus parade wagons."

Visitors will also see a clown painting by Red Skelton, on loan from a Freeport family who wished to remain anonymous.

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This page was originally published in 1999 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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