The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia is one of the leading voices in the field of puppetry and is recognized as one of the most innovative programs in the nation. The arts festival program has been named by Newsweek as one of the most exciting companies in American theater.
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The Center for Puppetry Arts began with Vincent Anthony who was touring with Nicholas Coppola and the Nicolo Marionettes in New York. In 1966, Anthony wanted to settle in a smaller community where he could become part of a community and make a difference in the arts. He decided to move to Atlanta and create Vagabond Marionettes with friend Mitchell Edmonds.
The pair traveled around the Southeast and showcased at Atlanta’s Woodruff Art’s Center. In 1978 Anthony as able to acquire space in the former elementary school and the Center for Puppetry Arts was born. The center was open to the public on September 23, 1978 with the first season presenting several puppet exhibitions for children and adults, community workshops, and family activities.
The Center focuses its program around three objectives—performance, museum and education. The center hosts numerous conferences and festivals for members and the community and was recently named by the Ford Foundation as a leader in success management and innovative programs. Only 28 other programs nationwide were recognized for these achievements. The Center was also featured in the 1996 Olympics as the only theater groups in the arts festival program.
World of Puppetry Museum
The World of Puppetry Museum at the Center for Puppetry Arts is an interactive experience that details the history of puppetry arts and exhibits famous collections from around the world. Museum docents are trained volunteers who are available to helps visitors explore and play with puppets at the Center.
The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday and is self-guided with admission. Groups tours can be arranged in advanced and include extra admission fees. Docent lead tours are available at scheduled times that are available online.
The Global Collection- The collection of puppets celebrates the worldwide tradition of puppetry and particularly highlights the countries and cultural histories of Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. The exhibits also demonstrates how puppets are used in education and communication.
The Jim Henson Collection- This collection follows the career of master puppeteer and designer Jim Henson chronologically and transports visitors through places that Henson would have spent much of his time in such as his office and studios. Visitors get to meet the Muppets in this exhibition.
The Nancy Staub Puppetry Research Library- The library is open from 9am-3pm Monday through Friday ony for those who have an appointment. Appointments can be made online or by calling the museum. Pieces that are on display in the Jim Henson Collection cannot be studied. The library contains more than 1,000 informational texts on puppetry including history, construction and the art of puppetry. The exhibition catalogs from the global puppetry museum since 1980 are also available online in pdf format. Many of the Archives and a list of periodicals available are also downloadable on the website.
The Center for Puppetry Arts puts on a variety of puppetry performance throughout the year that are appropriate for children and families. These programs change every few weeks or sometimes sooner and a full schedule is always available on their website. Puppet shows have been presented for stories such as The Wizard of OZ, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Charlotte’s Web, Cinderella Della Circus, Mother Goose, The Adventures of Gingerbread Man, Cat in the Hat, The 3 Little Pigs, and much more.
Shows that are geared more for adults and teens are also featured a few times a year. These shows are put on around the Halloween Time and contain more mature content. More details can be found on the Center’s website.
Engaging and interactive workshops are one of the core focuses of the Center for Puppetry Arts. Residencies are offered for artists and webinars and live video conferences are put on throughout the year as well. Leaners of all ages have the chance to explore the art of puppetry through Center programming. Onsite offerings include Puppet camps where children learn to create a puppet show from beginning to end, Toddler Tuesdays for preschool aged children, World Wednesdays for elementary school children to experience puppetry from around the world and educational discovery days on select weekend days. These Educational discovery days include a unique presentation taking a deeper look at the art or history of puppetry and are included with museum admission.
1404 Spring Street, NW at 18th, Atlanta, Georgia, 30309, website, Phone: 404-873-3391