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

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Karen Brown 

Chair of External Affairs Committee; Board Executive Committee


Start Date: 2015

Karen is an interdisciplinary and globally oriented scholar, teacher, and center director at the University of Minnesota. Her work focuses on co-creating educational programs and partnerships on global social justice issues in the arts and humanities, social and natural sciences. Karen has lived in south Minneapolis for over 30 years.

“Helping to create an artists’ exchange between HOBT MayDay artists and South African puppet artists was a wonderful experience!”


Malia Araki Burkhart 

Governance Committee


Start Date: 2019

Malia's lineage is Japanese-American and German/English American.  Her ancestors' bones also rest in Iowa and Hawaii.  Malia has worked with HOBT since 1999, as an Associate Artist, Residency teacher, MayDay Parade Artist, and has been a board member since February 2019.  Her websites are www.artsbymalia.com and www.kochikara.com.  Since COVID, her work has been focused on food resiliency and racial justice.

"Puppetry activates our imaginations to believe in the life of something we know can't be alive, and yet it lives!  It is a folk art, that can be made by anyone using just about anything to be a puppet. This art form has powerful ways of bringing people together in the process of creating it and in the act of witnessing it.  I'm excited to be part of helping shape this new chapter of HOBT's story."


Tamiko French


Start Date: 2020

Tamiko is a tenured Minneapolis Public School Dance Teacher, jewelry artisan, crystal and chakra healer, and nominated director for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2021 through www.AHSTF.org. Recipient of the 2020 Educational Leadership Award and The Awesome Foundation microgrant (2019) for building youth performing arts program with Legacy Arts Group, LLC.

"The Majesty of the royal purple donned Black and Brown Ancestors of 2015 rocked my world. The magic of that day is till part of my dreams."

Claire Graupmann

Secretary; Board Executive Committee


Start Date: 2015

Claire is retired from the financial services industry and served as a board member for a nonprofit affordable housing organization. Her interests are in environmental and social justice. Claire is curious and committed to listening and learning. She is a front yard vegetable gardener, Master Composter/Recycler, and Master Water Steward candidate.

"Puppetry is such a magical way to connect with children and adults alike. May Day is transformative, healing, and a gift to us all."


Alex Hecker 

Internal Affairs Committee


Start Date: 2015

Alex is an architect living and working in Minneapolis. Growing up in Omaha, Alex became active in theater and arts and has remained so to this day. His career has focused on adaptive reuse and historic preservation and when asked by a fellow Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commissioner in 2014 to join the board of HOBT he jumped at the opportunity to be involved with an organization that was dear to his heart in a historic Art Deco building. 

“My favorite MayDay memory is the Bucket Brigade! It gives me the opportunity to interact with literally 1000's of very happy people. What could be better?”

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Victoria Cox Igoe 

Treasurer and Chair of Internal Affairs; Board Executive Committee


Start Date: 2015

Victoria is a mother, teacher, learner and connector and lives in the Standish neighborhood. She’s passionate about building and sustaining a sense of community in this time and space, directly with her board role, but also by creating more connections in her neighborhood. Victoria is a senior manager at the accounting firm EY and serves as the HOBT treasurer.

My favorite memory of MayDay was my first, as I stumbled across it after moving back to MPLS after college. I discovered this day of magic and community and made it my mission to bring more people along to join in the wonderment with me.”


Katie Peacock 

Chair of Governance Committee


Start Date: 2017

Katie is a white adoptee, mother, spouse, experiential educator, learner, facilitator, Powderhorn resident, and someone who relishes in long hellos and goodbyes.  She works at the intersection of higher education and community and civic engagement to build connections and possibilities for shared learning, growth, and work.  She has served on the HOBT board since 2016.

"Every MayDay is magical for me but I think visiting the warehouse for the first time to get MayDay supplies and having an ah-ha moment about the amount of labor, creativity, and deep legacy of the event."

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Rosa Raarup 

External Affairs Committee


Start Date: 2019

Rosa Raarup currently lives in the Central neighborhood and works at the Walker Art Center as a Visitor Services Specialist supporting the Performing Arts Department. She deeply enjoys unusual theater experiences that engage the mind and recently finished her Masters in Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership from the UMN in June 2020.

One favorite memory is "feeding" the MayDay crowds pizza boxes full of LOVE with the Phillips Project children during the parade. Such energy! So much joy!" 

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Ade Salami

Internal Affairs 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!"
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Laura Wilhelm 

Board Chair; Board Executive Committee


Start Date: 2017

Laura Wilhelm is a puppeteer, theater professional, and non-profits administrator.  After returning to MN in 2005, she co-founded two small non-profits, Mad Munchkin Productions- a puppetry company, and Technical Tools of the Trade- a technical theater training organization.  She has served as Props Master for Chanhassen Dinner Theater for 12 seasons.

"My first May Day I shivered down the parade route dressed as a credit card with a giant diamond ring on my head in lightly falling snow.  But at the park, the sun flotilla crossed the lake, the sun burst through the clouds, and my life was touched."

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