HOBT Board of Directors

Join the HOBT Board of Directors

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater is seeking new members to join our Board of Directors!


Meet the HOBT Board of Directors


Malia Araki Burkhart 

Board Co-Chair, Executive Committee, Board Culture Committee, Conflict Transformation Work-Group


Start Date: 2019

Malia has worked with HOBT as an artist, teacher, and community leader since 1999.  She has been a maker, performer, director, and teacher with Hijinks Stilts (formerly Chicks on Sticks), Barebones Productions, Monkeybear Harmolodic Workshop, COMPAS, and East Side Arts Council.  Malia is a Somatic Massage Therapist and co-founder of Oshun Center for Intercultural Healing, and was a member of People's Movement Center (2015-2019).  You can find out more about Malia's work artsbymalia.com and kochikara.com.

"Puppetry has been a big part of my growth as an artist and human.  I've learned so much from this community about how to work together to manifest our dreams.  I'm excited to be part of shaping this new chapter of HOBT's story, and pass this legacy on to the next generation."

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Ade Salami

Board Co-Chair, Executive Committee


Start Date: 2020

Ade is a lifelong Minneapolis Southsider with a passion for all things at the intersection of racial justice and art. Ade believes wholeheartedly in empowering communities with information, education, and resources. Ade joined the HOTB board in June of 2020.


"I remember taking a field trip to HOTB when I was in elementary school and being absolutely shocked that masks and puppets could be so large! We saw the tree of life mask and I remember thinking I could fit inside it because it was so big!"


Laci McBride

She/Her/Hers or They/Them/Theirs

Start Date: 2022

"Within hours of my birth I was surrounded by the artists and makers of HOBT. I am a peaceful and persistent educator, artist, observer and explorer. I plan to engage purposefully with the regenerative and unexplored work ahead for the HOBT board. Uplifting accessible outlets for community artistic expression and liberation is very important to me."


Kallie Melvin


Start Date: 2022

Kallie is a Twin Cities-based performing artist and puppeteer, who has been working professionally for the past 20 years in the Twin Cities.  She has performed theatrically with companies including the Guthrie, Mixed Blood, and Pangea World Theater.  She discovered her passion for puppetry three years ago through the Monkey Bear Harmolodic workshop and has gone on to create her own puppet shows, including collaborations and performances with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, Weisman Art Museum, Minnesota Museum of American art, Barebones Puppets, Z Puppets Rosenschnoz, Puppets and People, the MayDay Festival and more. Kallie is currently the regional director of the Great Plains Region of Puppeteers of America.

Kallie was adopted from Kolkata, India, and grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her art typically centers on subjects and themes that are close to her heart, such as home, transracial intercontinental adoption, finding identity and voice, and experiences around growing up and existing as an IBPOC artist.

“I was motivated to join the board because I truly believe in the magic of puppets. More so, I believe in the beauty and magic of puppets through community making and storytelling. In the Heart of the Beast was a place I could see stories I could relate to and could tell my story. I want to see and be a part of making more art, puppets, and stories that haven’t been told yet and have a space and community to share it with.”

erin emory

Erin Emory


Start Date: 2023

Erin moved to Minneapolis for college. As part of a theatre class her freshman year Erin attended a community build night, and she's loved HOBT ever since. She is delighted to be able to contribute to the work of the theatre and to support the rich arts scene on Lake Street. Erin joined the board in 2023. 

"I think of HOBT as an integral part of what makes south Minneapolis what it is, so I am delighted to serve on its board of directors. I am honored to build on HOBT's rich history and to help envision all the great things to come."


Adrian Cox-Thurmond

Board Culture and Community Engagement Committee


Start Date: 2023

Adrian is a recent transplant from Bloomington Indiana where they worked with various nonprofit arts orgs before coming to Minneapolis after graduating from Earlham College in 2021 with a bachelors in music. Since then they have been teaching and volunteering around the East Phillips neighborhood as well as building and networking intentional communities. Adrian is a performer, visual artist, composer, and organizer. They are passionate about land justice, harm reduction, pipeline resistance, prison abolition, and theater as a vehicle for social and political change. They are looking forward to learning and growing alongside The Heart Of The Beast through our collective metamorphosis.


Ellen Alphonso


Start Date: 2023

Ellen is new to the Twin Cities and is thrilled to be supporting the work of HOBT. She is a Certified Public Accountant who loves to uplift art as an incredible component of social justice and education. She was moved to serve on the Board after visits to the Puppet Library with her child and learning about the values and guiding principles of the organization.


Cecelia Benimon


Start Date: 2023

Cece is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa from North Dakota. She is the proud mother of two beautiful girls. She works as a project coordinator for Minneapolis Public Schools and has been with Minneapolis Public Schools in many different roles since 2016. Her responsibility, passion, and commitment to her family and other families is what drives her work at MPS, in the native community, and surrounding communities.

"I am a lifelong learner and learning and understanding what a board can be—that's what brought me here. And it's the people who keep me coming back."


Scott Muskin

Chair of Community Engagement Committee


Start Date: 2021

Scott is a 20-year south Minneapolis resident, advertising professonal, published novelist, and lover of theater and grassroots community-building. He found his way to the Board after several years on the Development/External Affairs committee, contributing messaging expertise, bucket brigade organization, and event coordination. He is moved to join the board by many years experiencing joy at both many MayDay Sundays and unforgettable puppet and mask perfornances. 


HOBT board member Caspian Wirth-Petrik.

Caspian Wirth-Petrik


Start Date: 2023

Caspian is a craniosacral practitioner who delights in recognizing craniosacral rhythms in puppet performances and how puppetry embodies collaborative living and performing.

The creative whimsy of puppets always inspires me. I love the Lake Street community and In The Heart of the Beast Theatre! Let’s talk anytime about what you love too!

HOBT's anonymous report form --- questions, concerns, complaints. This form is reviewed by HOBT's Board Chair. For general questions, please email [email protected]

HOBT's Pronoun Guide