Papering the Town: Circus Posters in America. - CODAworx

Papering the Town: Circus Posters in America.

Submitted by Toni-Lee Sangastiano

Client: Shelburne Museum

Location: Shelburne, VT, United States

Completion date: 2017

Project Team


Toni-Lee Sangastiano


Kory Rogers

Shelburne Museum


Circus Parade and Pink Elephant light sculpture installations were a tribute to Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus's last performance of the elephants for the Papering the Town: Circus Posters in America exhibition at the Shelburne Museum.


The commissioned circus-themed artwork consisted of two light sculptures and one large scale painted circus sideshow banner to integrate with the historical posters, related ephemera, and current circus history.


Sketches, material tests, and layout mock-ups for the light sculptures were created and shared with the curator and art preparator. The art preparator built the torsion boxes, which matched the color of the walls for the exhibition space. The assigned space in the Pizzigalli Center gallery at Shelburne Museum included one 5x7 ft. circus banner and two LED and radiant light film sculptures. Pencil sketches were transformed into vectors and cut out and engraved with a laser cutter. Each light sculpture was made out of laserable acrylic, LEDs and radiant light film for colorful reflections, which created fantastically distorted and dream-like imagery of pink elephants as spectators interacted with the sculptures. Pink Elephants is a multi-layered light diorama that features a circus tent. The double acrylic for Circus Parade creates a persistent blurring effect, which furthers the dream-like circus imagery. The use of radiant light film and pink LEDs for the elephant sculptures connects to the many pop-cultural references and beloved characters of elephants in the media.

Additional Information

"Pink Elephants." 2017. Light guiding acrylic, LEDs, radiant light film and wood. 36 in x 18 in. "Circus Parade." 2017. Light guiding acrylic, LEDs, radiant light film and wood. 28 in x 18 in.