Grand Opening of “The Bureau of Small Requests: Puppetry and Animation of Laura Heit” on 4/23 at 4:30!

The Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut will present the grand opening of The Bureau of Small Requests: Puppetry and Animation of Laura Heit on Saturday, April 23, 2016, with refreshments served at 4:30 p.m. and a tour by puppeteer, visual artist, and filmmaker Laura Heit at 5:00 p.m. All events will take place at the Ballard Institute, located at 1 Royce Circle in Storrs, Connecticut. At 6:30 p.m. in the Ballard Institute Theater, Heit will perform one of her critically acclaimed puppet productions and screen a selection of her short films.

The Bureau of Small Requests includes multiple examples of the masterful small-scale puppets and objects from Laura Heit’s varied repertoire of performances, films, and installations. A West-Coast-based artist whose work has crossed many disciplines, Heit has deep roots in puppetry and animation and all things miniature. After studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and London’s Royal College of Art, Heit co-directed the Experimental Animation Program at the California Institute of Arts before moving to Portland, Oregon, where she teaches at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. The Bureau of Small Requests features artworks and objects from puppet productions and films Heit has created over the past 15 years, involving toy-theater stages and shrines, matchbox-sized puppet shows, and the unheralded work of women paleontologists of the 19th century. As part of the exhibition, visitors will experience Two Ways Down, a multi-media installation covering the walls of the largest Ballard Institute gallery with mechanized moving shadows and figments of digital animation. The Bureau of Small Requests will be on display through October 9, 2016.

For her 6:30 p.m. grand opening performance in the Ballard Institute Theater, Heit will perform her miniature toy theater spectacle The Matchbox Shows, and screen two of her animated films: The Deep Dark (2011) and The Amazing, Mysterious, and True Story of Mary Anning and Her Monsters (2003). This performance is geared for mature audiences. Admission is free, and seating is limited.

As part of our Spring Puppet Forum Series, on Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m., Laura Heit will discuss her richly varied work in stop-motion film, live-action puppetry, drawing, and computer animation. This is a free event and will also be live-streamed on our UStream channel: