The Story Behind The Print: For The Love Of Barnstorming

A child’s room is a place of creativity. Why not fill it with art?

It’s one of those things that probably only your grandparents remember. Popular in the Roaring Twenties, Barnstorming thrilled audiences in America with stunts and circus type of flying that included such greats as Charles Lindbergh and the Wright Brothers. Looking at this child’s bedroom, I am reminded how fascinated I was with Charles Lindbergh as a child, spotting him once in an encyclopedia on my parent’s bookshelf. It would have led me from the “L” book to the “B” book (for barnstormer) and then probably through several other learning adventures that didn’t quite feel like I was learning anything at all. But learn I did—history, adventure, art, and the creative stories of days gone by. Today I am reminded that children need such things in their lives…pieces of creative input that allow their imaginations to soar.


Barnstormers in the 1920’s

But I digress. Let’s get back to the Barnstormer.                Apparently, following WWI, there was such an abundance of airplanes and airman who flew the flying machines that companies and pilots grew into a big business of entertainment as the Roaring Twenties took hold. It became a great way to make a living with pilots traveling in a Barnstorming circuit, wing walking, parachuting, and performing stunts in the air.



And just think about the twenties in America for a minute. Women didn’t work, men were the leaders of nations and always had the final word at home. But for Barnstormers, it wasn’t only former military veterans who took to the skies; there were woman and other minorities who thrilled audiences with their skills as barnstormers.


Bessie Coleman

One such notable lady was named Bessie Coleman. She wasn’t just a woman, but the first woman and African American civil aviator to hold a pilot license. For Bessie, her family was in the sharecropping business in Texas so it was a natural interest of hers to learn to fly, but remember it was the 1920’s. No matter her interests, she had to go all the way to France to learn to fly since there were no flight schools in America for women. Bess became an inspiration because she “not only thrilled audiences with her skills as a barnstormer, but she also became a role model for women and African Americans.    Her very presences in the air threated prevailing contemporary stereotypes. She also fought segregation when she could by using her influence as a celebrity.” (PBS 2015)


I guess that people across America were thrilled with Barnstormers no matter who they were because they were all looked at as fun entertainment in a world that had no televisions or Internet to delight or distract them. This group came to town as adventurers and daredevils so it didn’t matter who was flying around doing stunts in the air, in fact, it might have been a greater thrill to think of women flying above the crowd.

“The Barnstormers are coming!”

I heard that the fun began as soon as the grumbling engines could be heard as they approached a town. Everyone, and in many cases, it meant the entire town, would shut down as all the people flocked to see where they would land. People lined up to ask how much it would cost to take a trip up in the air. Children begged for rides and parents hoped there would be enough money in the coffee tin for everyone to feel the thrill of flight! Most people had never seen an airplane in the 1920’s, so the

whole event would have been a daylong celebration that was the most magical and exiting part of their entire year!


1965 Film

One fun depiction of the life of the Barnstormer was in the 1965 film, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. It was a typical adventure of how pilots swarmed together, in this case to enter a race, competing against one another in a comedic series of stunts. Barnstorming found a bit of a revival after the film came out and today you can still find adventure tours who fly for fun. But Barnstormers are a rare site indeed. More likely, you can look up from the beach or baseball game to see a Barnstormer plane carrying large banner advertising for some local business. The roar of the plane’s engine and flapping wings is still a sure way to get you to look above.



The Engine View

Today it is still possible to fly with a Barnstormer and enjoy the view of landscape from an open cockpit. Unlike a commercial aircraft, a passenger can feel the wind and hear the engine as it grumbles its way across the sky. It is spectacular and breathtaking to fly over the countryside and perhaps do a flip or two!

These flips, or Aerobatics, are the maneuvers that you might expect to see from the stunt pilots who perform dangerous spins in the air. There are loops and the barrel rolls, stall turns and wingovers, and sometimes aerialists will perform daredevil stunts like switching planes in midair. Even today, these tricks and stunts are fun to experience if your stomach can handle it of course. Most flights are very smooth and graceful. If you are lucky enough to see a “wing walker” thrill audiences from the ground you can see them wave from air while hanging from their ankles below the bottom wing.


“Barnstormer” Limited Edition Giclee by P Buckley Moss

The special history of the Barnstormer is one that is truly an American delight. One such great moment is through a newly released limited edition Giclee print, Barnstormer, painted by iconic American Artist, P. Buckley Moss. Not only did she want to share an adventurous time in American history but her love of education helped to create a wonderful summer essay contest that both adults and children can enjoy.



This Great America Summer of Art Essay Contest kicks off a summer of fun and remembrances of the special places and moments in all of our lives; and one lucky winner over Labor Day weekend will win this very special Barnstormer print (signed and personalized.) Enter your 500-1000-word memory of summer by first browsing through a selection of qualifying art pieces painted by this beloved American Artist. Each print depicts the wonders of summer through her painted inspiration. I am sure there is something that you can remember and recall for that special summer in your life; and then have an opportunity to win and take home a special part of our great American History, the Barnstormer.


For full contest detail: Click Here

Blogger and Digital Marketer, Maria Bereket works with all types of businesses to help them bridge the gap of Digital Social Media Marketing. She has had the pleasure of working with the art dealers of American Artist, P. Buckley Moss and often incorporates the important lessons educators and psychologists on the importance of art in development of children’s creativity and intelligence. ”Just viewing art can have an important effect on creativity and attention of both children and adults.” Says Bereket. “Studies show that sharing art and just hanging it in our homes can have a profound effect on innovation.” Her company, Design Bear Marketing values education and innovation in all things digital and marketing. Connect with her on Twitter @mbear88 or Website



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