The Center for Puppetry Arts' mission is to touch lives through the art of puppetry.
1) We believe puppetry is awe-inspiring and magical.
If we didn’t think that, then we wouldn’t exist. Puppetry is a wonderful, creative, expansive art form. It engages and entertains, bringing a sense of wonder and theatricality to a story.
2) We believe in providing awesome artistic experiences.
We continually strive for artistic excellence in everything we do - because the artistic experience is key to who we are and what we do. Puppetry is an art form that requires human interaction. It is the exchange between the artist, your fellow audience members, and you that makes each experience unique and special. Big or small, we hope a visit with us brings a great experience, and opens your mind to new possibilities.
3) We believe in unlocking imagination.
From audiences experiencing the performances, education and museum experiences we offer, to the artists creating the work - we nurture the imagination. Every day is an exploration – bringing new innovations to advance the art form, and introducing new people to our passion. We educate and provide creative experiences through our programming - Doing things like using puppetry in innovative ways to help people explore other topics - such as butterflies, the rainforest, and even nanotechnology. What will we think of next?
4) We believe in inspiring every generation.
The Center is committed to providing something for everyone. Whether you’re a college student, parent, toddler, or senior citizen, we strive to provide you with access to and understanding of the art form. That’s why we offer so many different activities. Once you’ve visited us, we hope you’ll understand that puppetry is not just for kids. It's for everyone.
5) We believe in the people behind the puppets.
Our staff, our supporters, our community. Success is not obtained without passion and commitment. Our work conti
The Center for Puppetry Arts opened to the public on September 23, 1978, when Kermit the Frog and his creator Jim Henson cut the ceremonial ribbon. The first puppetry center in the United States, today it is the largest American organization solely dedicated to the art of puppet theater.
The Center's story begins when a young puppeteer from Florida, Vincent Anthony, began touring with Nicolo Marionettes under the tutelage of Nicholas Coppola based out of New York. By 1966, he was ready for a smaller community where he could be an active partner and make a difference. He pursued the vision of a center that would promote puppetry and become a vital part of the community. He decided to call Atlanta home and created Vagabond Marionettes with Mitchell Edmonds.
The Vagabond Marionettes traveled around the Southeast and presented several seasons at Atlanta's Woodruff Arts Center. In 1978, Anthony found a permanent home in the former Spring Street Elementary School and the Center was born. That first season, the Center mounted an exhibition of puppets, presented shows for adults and families, and hosted community-based workshops and activities that continue to this day.
Since its inception, the Center has worked to serve the diverse populations of Atlanta, the state of Georgia, and the country at large. The Center reaches the community through its focus on core programming: performance, Museum and education.
Throughout the years, the Center has been a leading voice in the field, and has hosted numerous conferences and festivals. In addition, the Center has been recognized both nationally and internationally as an organization for excellence. The Ford Foundation recently selected the Center as one of only 28 national organizations to be recognized for success in management and innovative programs. The prestigious Kresge Foundation awarded the Center three different grants to support its capital campaigns. The Center was also the only theater group chosen by the 1996 Olymp
The UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry, better known as the “UNIs” for short, originated with puppetry’s favorite father, Jim Henson. In 1966, Henson co-founded the United States chapter of UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette), the world’s oldest international theatre arts organization. In 1974, Henson, who was then President of UNIMA-USA, initiated a committee to review live puppet theater productions throughout North America, and the UNIs were born. Considered to be the “Oscar” of the puppetry world, UNIMA-USA Citations are handed out conservatively by an anonymous reviewers panel, comprised of accomplished puppet theatre writers, directors, designers and performers. The Center for Puppetry Arts has won nine of these coveted awards:
• 1976-77 – Jungle Book, The Vagabond Marionettes
• 1982-83 – Allegory, adapted for puppets by Kent Stephens, Janie Geiser & Megan McFarland
• 1984-85 – Dr. Dolittle, directed by Luis Q. Barroso
• 1987-88 – Hansel & Gretel, directed by Luis Q. Barroso
• 1990-91 – Heaven and Hell Tour, by Jon Ludwig
• 1992-93 – The Stone Circle, co-produced by the Center and the California Polytechnic State University
• 1992-93 – Safe as Milk, by Jon Ludwig
• 2000-01 – The Plant Doctors, by Jon Ludwig
• 2000-01 – Kwaidan, by Jon Ludwig, Mitsuru Ishii and Ping Chong
• 2004-05 – American Tall Tales, by Jon Ludwig