Day four of Sarasota Chalk Festival and the artworks are coming to life. The variety of interpretations of the circus theme is a heaps of fun for all attending. Watching Master Artist Kurt Wenner and his team produce the major street painting is a highlight everyday but today we had a nail biting experience when world renowned hire-wire walker Nik Wallenda arrived on site to pull one of his more daring stunts.
Wallenda who has just completed a crossing of Niagara Falls was back in his home town to walk on a high-wire line created by pavement artists Anthony Cappetto, Shawn McCann and Wendy Stum. The three artists admitted this was the first time they have every tied a knot for a high-wire line and feared they could be putting him in danger. It was a breathtaking moment when Wallenda walked the wire today but true to form he survived the danger zone and lives to face his next challenge, crossing the Grand Canyon.
Inspired by the circus theme I took time out today to visit Sarasota’s Ringling Museum of Art. The museum was once the home of John & Mabel Ringling, John Ringling was one of the five original circus kings of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, he was an entrepreneurial genius who made his home in Sarasota. He invested heavily in the area and made Sarasota the winter of home for his Circus. The Museum houses a wonderful Circus Museum included a miniature circus created by Howard Tibbals, this is a must see – its an incredibly beautiful 3,800 square foot replica of The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. You can also see hand-carved painted wagons, circus memorabilia and John and Mabel’s private train car. Another wonder of this museum is John & Mabel’s incredible art collection which includes Rubens, Van Dyck, Gainsborough as well as early twentieth century bronze and stone casts of iconic Classical, Renaissance, and Baroque sculptures including Michelangelo’s David from Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy.