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Dead medium: An Amish Cyclorama
From: (Candi Strecker)
Source(s): "Amish Heartland," a tourist brochure dated June 1996

published by Spectrum Publications, P O Box 8,

409 Main Street, Orville Ohio 44667 Fax 330-683-2041

Bruce: a cyclorama *too new* to be on your posted list of

"Known Surviving Panoramas!" (Working Note 09.3). This

is from a brochure I picked up on a recent visit to my

ancestral state of Ohio. Best, Candi Strecker

page 19

"Behold *Behalt* in Berlin"

"*Behalt* == German for 'remembering' == is one of only

three 'cycloramas' in the country, and it is located near

Berlin (((Ohio, USA))), at the Mennonite Information


"It shows the history of the Anabaptist movement,

which includes the Mennonites, Amish and Hutterites.

Beginning with Christ, the paintings go through the early

history of the church, through the Middle Ages and the

rise of the Protestant movement, then the history of the


"The circular mural is 10 feet high and 256 feet

long, and it took artist Heinz Gaugel four years to paint

it. The room is dimly lit, with lights only on the

paintings. This adds to the drama, and some people like

to sit on the chairs provided and absorb the story at

length. Others walk around slowly and stop periodically

to study a section. You could visit *Behalt* many times

and there would still be more to see.

"Gaugel is a self-taught artist. He was born near

Stuttgart, Germany, in the Swabish Alps. He began

sketching at 6 and did his first oil painting at 12.

After World War II, Gaugel started a career as an

accountant in Germany, but was transferred to the art

department of a factory where he designed metalware.

"Gaugel emigrated to Canada in 1951 and became known

for his huge mosaics and large paintings outside churches

and commercial buildings.

"He came to Ohio in 1971 to create a statue in

Cambridge. That didn't work out, but he connected with

area Mennonite and Amish communities and stayed for 10

years. During that period, some Mennonite businessmen

contacted him about developing their history through art.

"Gaugel moved back and forth between his Canadian

studio and Holmes County, where the cyclorama was

completed in 1992.

"To get to the Mennonite Information Center near

Berlin, take U.S. 62 and Ohio 39 to Holmes County Road 77,

and go north on 77. Signs are posted. Hours are 9 a.m.

to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Admission to the

cyclorama is $5.50. There is no charge to visit just the

center. For more information, call 330-893-3192."

(((bruces remarks: Among candidates who might revive the

panorama/cyclorama form in the 1990s, one could scarcely

pick a better group than the Amish and Mennonites. The

cyclorama is a spectacular, immersive virtuality without

moving parts.))