“Frank Ballard’s Marionette Modernism: ‘Peer Gynt’ and ‘The Love for Three Oranges'”, October 22, 2016-February 12, 2017

Frank Ballard’s Marionette Modernism: Peer Gynt and The Love for Three Oranges will be a striking exposition of Frank Ballard’s life-long passion for the artistic possibilities of string marionettes as it emerged in his spectacular versions of two modernist classics: Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, with music by Edvard Grieg; and Gozzi’s The Love for Three Oranges, set to music by Sergei Prokofiev.

“The Bureau of Small Requests: Puppetry and Animation of Laura Heit,” April 23-October 9, 2016

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.


“From Thought to Image: 30 Years of Sandglass Theater,” November 14, 2015-April 10, 2016

This first-ever retrospective exhibition of work by the world-renowned Vermont-based puppet company co-directed by Eric Bass and Ines Zeller Bass features extraordinarily crafted puppets from ten different Sandglass productions dating from 1985 to the present. Including characters created by Eric Bass, Ines Zeller Bass, Jana Zeller, Dave Regan, Finn Campman, Matt Brooks and Coni Richards, the exhibition will trace Sandglass Theater’s development from such dreamlike pieces as Invitations to Heaven (1990) and The Village Child (1992) to stories strongly rooted in the recognizable Vermont world, such as Never Been Anywhere (1997) and All Weather Ballads (2010); and the profound contemplations of modern life in shows based on The Little Prince (Between Sand and Stars, 2005) and the life of renowned philosopher Walter Benjamin (One Way Street, 2002). In all these productions, the persistent metaphorical nature of the puppets remains a constant and compelling element of the work. The exhibition will be on display through April 10, 2016.