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School of Fine ArtsBallard Institute and Museum of Puppetry
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The University of Connecticut (UConn) is a public research university in the U.S. state of Connecticut. UConn was founded in 1881 and is a Land Grant and Sea Grant college & member of the Space Grant Consortium. The university serves more than 30,000 students on its six campuses, including more than 8,000 graduate students in multiple programs.

“Puppetry and Animation” with Michael Bannon on 3/8 at 7 p.m.

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As part of the 2017 Spring Puppet Forum Series, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will present a discussion with Michael Bannon, Director of Advertising Production for Bob’s Discount Furniture, entitled Puppetry and Animation on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 7 p.m. in the Ballard Institute Theater, located at 1 Royce Circle in Storrs Center. This event is co-sponsored by UConn’s Art and Art History Department.

Stop-motion animation artist Michael Bannon’s Wreckless Abandon Studios has produced and directed award-winning commercials for scores of companies across the United States, as well as the famous “Little Bob” spokespuppet for Connecticut-based Bob’s Discount Furniture. At the forum he will explain the dynamics and opportunities of contemporary visual storytelling with the arts of stop-motion puppet animation.

Michael Bannon is the Director of Advertising Production for Bob’s Discount Furniture, a successful furniture chain founded by UConn alumni Bob Kaufman and Eugene Rosenberg. Bannon earned his BA in sculpture, printmaking, and art history from Plymouth State University with the goal to make a career personifying brands through character animation. Bannon joined forces with documentary filmmaker Ron Wyman to form Atlantic Media Services. Their client list grew to include numerous furniture stores, along with notable news networks such as CNN. In 1991, Bannon added Bob’s Discount Furniture to the roster and helped propel the business into the fastest-growing furniture chain in the U.S. In 1997, Bannon founded Wreckless Abandon Studios, an award-winning stop-motion and digital animation studio located near Hartford, Connecticut. Over nine years, Wreckless Abandon grew to employ a staff of over 75 artists and production personnel, including many alumni from UConn’s Puppet Arts Program and Art and Art History Department. As Executive Vice President & Creative Director of Wreckless Abandon Studios, Bannon was responsible for creative direction of the studio, which has produced animated commercials for national clients including PepsiCo, Fisher-Price, Talbots, Dannon and Sony Music Entertainment, as well as the animated Fisher-Price Little People television series, an NBC prime-time Christmas special, and stop-motion productions for such clients as the Late Show with David Letterman, the Today Show, Lego and Nickelodeon. Today, Bannon continues to bring “Little Bob” to life for an audience of millions, while training a stable of talented young artists in the age-old visual storytelling technique of stop-motion animation.

Admission to this event is free (donations greatly appreciated!), and refreshments will be served. Come early, and experience our puppet exhibitions, as well as the video resources in our library nook. Forums will be broadcast via Facebook Live. Call 860-486-8580 for more information.

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