Toni Lee Sangastiano
Toni Lee Sangastiano
Affiliated with Division of Communication and Creative Media, Visual Communication Design

Toni-Lee Sangastiano is the Program Director of Visual Communication Design. She received her MFA in studio art from Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, and her BA in Art, with a concentration in graphic design and illustration, from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ. Sangastiano has worked as a graphic designer, web designer, and as an assistant art director in the music, travel, communications, and fashion industries. 

At Champlain College, she currently teaches Design & Communication, Typography, Advanced Art History Special Topics: Book Arts, and Senior Capstone. Letterpress, paper marbling, and the maker movement also inform other aspects of Sangastiano's classes and artistic practices.

Sangastiano is considered one of the leading sideshow banner painters in the United States. As one of the earliest forms of advertising and graphic design history, sideshow banners incorporate hand-lettering and an alluring, fantastic visual pitch to the public. She also paints realistic portraits of sideshow performers and circus and carnival landscapes, which serve as important historical documentation of Americana.

During a one-year sabbatical in Italy, she attended the Angel Academy of Art full-time to learn the drawing methods of the masters and simultaneously started a Ph.D. program (graduated January 2019) at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA) to study philosophy, aesthetics and art theory throughout Venice, Florence, Paris, Berlin and Istanbul. As a student at IDSVA, her interest in the carnivalesque began and ties directly to the history of the sideshow, the construction of societal norms, hierarchies, language, both visual and verbal, and the role of art in society.

Exhibitions include:

  • Side Show, Yale School of Art

  • Wide Open 2, curated by Nathan Trotman, Associate Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, BWAC, New York

  • Under the Big Top: The Fine Art of the Circus in America at the Robert Hull Fleming Museum

  • A commissioned outdoor sideshow bannerline installation for the Shelburne Museum's Circus Day in America, and the Tate Modern, London.

Sangastiano recently presented her doctoral research "The Postmodern Sideshow and the Bakhtinian Dialogic" at the XVI International Bakhtin Conference in Shanghai, and it will be published in Russian Literature& Arts (《俄罗斯文艺》) Volume 4. You can see more of Toni-Lee's work at and and @leetoni View artist catalog via Blurb, produced in collaboration with the Champlain College Center for Publishing:  "TONI-LEE SANGASTIANO Collected works: Sideshow, Circus, and the Carnivalesque"