School of Fine ArtsBallard Institute and Museum of Puppetry
About Us

You can add a brief statement here briefly describing your office, school, or group. For example:

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.

Joyce Fritz Ritz

Joyce Fritz Ritz


Joyce Ritz is a freelance designer and builder, specializing in puppetry and costumes. Originally from Baltimore, where she spent a number of years designing costumes, she earned her BFA from Maryland Institute, College of Art. In 1993, Joyce entered the University of Connecticut Graduate Program where she pursued a course of study in Costume Design and Puppet Arts. Her thesis production, “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” involved the design of over two hundred puppets, ranging in height from two to eight feet.
Since graduation, Joyce’s designs have been seen on the stages of Hart School of Music and the Harry Hope Theatre (Costumes) and Maryland’s Open Space Arts (Puppets). She also maintained a steady working relationship as a fabric artist with the Hartford Ballet, and it was this relationship which led to the assignment of technical design and construction of six over-sized puppets for the world premiere of “Kirk Peterson’s American Nutcracker”. The magnitude of such a project provided the impetus for the formation of a company by Joyce, her husband Bob Ritz (UCONN MFA Scenic Designer & ECSU Professor) and established puppet artist Susan Doyle Tolis (UCONN BFA Puppetry & MA Design). Thus, in 1997 INTEGRITY DESIGNWORKS was established. Theirs is a full-service design and production company, specializing in puppets, masks and mascots, and operating from a home base in Ashford, CT. Their statement of intent involves bringing an awareness of the beauty and possibilities of the artform to companies unfamiliar with puppetry and striving to employ as many non-toxic and environmentally friendly methods and materials as are available while maintaining the highest standards of craftsmanship.

You can reach Joyce, Susan, and Bob at INTEGRITY DESIGNWORKS (860) 487-4807 or visit their website at