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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.

Grand Opening of “Mascots! Mask Performance in the 21st Century” on 10/19 at 5:30 p.m.

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The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will present the grand opening of its new exhibition Mascots! Mask Performance in the 21st Century on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 at 5:30 p.m., with refreshments served at 5:30 p.m. and a free tour beginning at 6 p.m. All events will take place at the Ballard Institute, located at 1 Royce Circle in Storrs Center. “Although mascots are an ever-present element of American culture,” Ballard Institute director John Bell says, “they are very rarely celebrated and considered as a part of centuries-old global mask traditions. We are excited that this exhibition will allow us to look at mascots in a new way.” The exhibition will be on display through Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018.

The world of mascots is one of the most vibrant and active areas of contemporary mask performance in the United States. With their combination of costumes and over-life-size head masks, mascots are stunning symbolic representations of professional, college, and high-school sports teams, companies, and other organizations. Through their performances at sporting events, parades, theme parks, street corners, and other venues, mascots represent powerful ideas of community, team spirit, and organizational identity. The Ballard Institute’s Mascots! exhibition will examine the creators, history and social context of mascots in North America, and bring together exciting examples of contemporary and historic mascots ranging from the collegiate level with UConn’s Jonathan the Husky, Big Jay and Baby Jay from the University of Kansas, and Lil’ Red from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, to famous major-league mascots including the Boston Red Sox’s Wally the Green Monster; Winger, the former mascot of the Washington Capitols; Clutch from the Houston Rockets, the Famous San Diego Chicken, and more.

In conjunction with the exhibition, and as part of our Fall Puppet Forum Series, famed mascot builders and performers David Raymond and AJ Mass will explain the magic of the mask on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Ballard Institute Theater. Admission is free, and donations are greatly appreciated.

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