The Ballard Institute’s “World of Puppetry in Hartford” project concluded in May with an exciting video project at Billings Forge Community Works in Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood with 8th-grade students from the Burns School and the Compass Youth Collaborative program. The students worked with puppeteer Sara Peattie, Billings Forge resident artists James Holland and Alycia Bright Holland, and Ballard Institute director John Bell in weekly afternoon sessions in April and May.
The Billings Forge project began with paper-mache mask and puppet building workshops led by Peattie, the director of the Boston-based Puppeteers Cooperative. Drawing on the theme “El Coqui meets Frog Hollow”–referencing both the official frog mascot of Puerto Rico and the history of the once-marshy lowland neighborhood of Frog Hollow–the students built frog masks and puppets. In the following weeks the students developed frog-centric scenarios and storyboards for videos about Frog Hollow, the Burns School, and teen-age life in general, which were then filmed, editing in-camera.
James Holland and Sara Peattie edited the films, which can be viewed online at this site.
“The World of Puppetry in Hartford” was a year-long effort to bring different aspects of world puppetry to the Hartford area through exhibitions, workshops and performances at the UConn Health Center, the Mark Twain House and Museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and Billings Forge. The project was sponsored by grants from the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation and Judith Zachs.Alycia Bright Holland and James Holland make frog masks with Burns School students.