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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.

Spring Puppet Forums feature Activism, Women Artists, and Digital Puppetry


The Ballard Institute’s popular Puppet Forum programs about contemporary issues in the world of puppetry will take place on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 (except for Sunday, March 30) through May 1.  Most will take place at the Ballard Institute on UConn’s Depot Campus, except where noted. The schedule of other Spring Puppet Forums includes the following:

The People’s Puppets of the Occupy Wall Street Puppet Guild on Times Square.

– Wednesday, February 13: “Activist Puppet Theater and the Occupy Movement”, with Joseph Therrien (UConn Puppet Arts 2012), of the Occupy Wall Street Puppet Guild.





Seth Hunter and some of his digital puppets.

– Wednesday, February 27: “Innovations in Digital Puppetry”, with Seth Hunter, MIT Media Lab.  In this forum Seth will provide insight into the best practices and guidelines for designers and artists interested in incorporating digital assets for live animation, performance, and storytelling purposes.   This forum is co-sponsored by the UConn Digital Media Center, and will take place in Room 228 of the Art Building on UConn’s Main Campus.  See this linkfor directions.**

The Manteo Family and some of their Sicilian marionettes.

– Wednesday, March 13: “Sicilian Marionette Theater in New York City”, Tony DeNonno and his film It’s One Family Knock on Wood, about the famed Manteo family and their storefront puppet theater and traditional Sicilian marionette shows on New York City’s Lower East Side.



Dick Myers and some of his puppets.

– Saturday, March 30: “Exceptional and Uncommon: the Puppetry of Dick Myers”, with Allelu Kurten and Seth Shaffer, on the occasion of the opening of the Ballard Museum and its two new exhibitions: Strings, Rods, and Robots: Recent Acquisitions, and  Exceptional and Uncommon: The Puppetry of Dick Myers.





A scene from Kara Walker’s 2004 shadow puppet film “Testimony.”

– Wednesday, April 17: “Women on the Verge: Visual Artists Approaching Puppetry”, with famed New York puppeteer and performance artist Theodora Skipitares.  This talk will consider Kiki Smith, Kara Walker, Cao Fei, and Janine Antoni: women visual artists who “suddenly find themselves working with puppets, even though they often won’t admit that’s what they’re doing.”  This forum is co-sponsored by the UConn Art + Art History Department, and the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program.

**Please note:  “Women on the Verge: Visual Artists Approaching Puppetry” will take place in The Pit in the Art + Art History Building on UConn’s Main Campus.  See this link for directions.**

The Spring Puppet Forum Series is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.  The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry is at 6 Bourn Place, Mansfield, Connecticut, just off Route 44, 2 miles south of Route 195. For more information see or contact


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