Lighting Designer

Behind the Scenes:

The Art of the Hollywood Backdrop

February 2021

Creative Team

Curator: Karen Maness

Producer: Bob Bursey

Technical Director: Conrad Haden

Lighting Designer: Bill Rios

In 2012, Karen Maness, co-author of the book Art of the Hollywood Backdrop, began the Backdrop Recovery Project with the Art Director’s Guild (ADG) Archives, in an effort to preserve the legacy of Hollywood’s motion picture scenic artists. This resulted in the preservation of 207 historic backings, creating the world’s most comprehensive archive of Hollywood scenic art history. ADG donated these historic drops to museums, motion picture archives, and academic institutions, including The University of Texas at Austin through the Texas Performing Arts scenic studio. Texas Performing Arts now houses 50 MGM backdrops used to educate the next generation of scenic artists for stage and screen.


This exhibit showcased 12 of those 50 drops, giving a chance for visitors to see large format art in a way that is hardly every accessible.  Working with Maness we were able to light these drops both as exhibit pieces as well as showcasing their translucent nature thus revealing some of the Hollywood magic to our guests.

Production Documents

Photo Credit: Robert Silver

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