Living Objects: African-American Puppetry

The University of Connecticut is hosting Living Objects, an exhibition, festival, and symposium on African-American puppetry.

Activities for the Living Objects: African American Puppetry Festival and Symposium will take place in various venues on UConn’s Storrs campus Feb. 8 to 10, with related festival events with UConn Hartford at the Hartford Public Library on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, and at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019.

Attendees have two options to participate in Living Objects Festival and Symposium events:

  1. Living Objects performances in Storrs and Hartford are open to the public. Individual tickets can be purchased at
  2. To attend all Living Objects Festival and Symposium events, including performances, panel discussions, film screenings, and more, registration is required. Registration can be completed at

These events are part of the current Ballard Institute exhibition Living Objects: African American Puppetry, on display through April 7, 2019, which for the first time brings together historical and contemporary puppets, masks, and performing objects by African American artists and puppeteers. Many of the exhibition’s contributors, as well as scholars from around the United States, will come together at the festival and symposium to celebrate the past, present, and future of African American puppetry.

Exhibition co-curator Paulette Richards, a teaching artist and Fulbright Scholar, writes that “since their arrival in the Americas, African people have animated objects in a rich variety of forms and contexts, animating objects to represent their experiences and identity.” The Living Objects: African American Puppetry Festival and Symposium will highlight such work by contemporary African American artists, while also contextualizing the evolution of African American object performance.

Artists and puppeteers performing in the festival and symposium include Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins, Megan Piphus, Nehprii Amenii, Schroeder Cherry, David Liebe Hart, Dirk Joseph, Pandora Gastelum, Brad Brewer, Gabrielle Civil, Bruce Cannon, Nate Puppets, Yolanda Sampson, Edna Bland, and Paulette Richards.

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