HOBT in Community 2022-2024

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Check out the video footage from HOBT's Art Shaping Change workshops that took place this past winter 2022-23. Workshops were hosted by Sofía Padilla and Davey Steinman of Paradox Teatro at the Avalon. Workshops employed all different types of puppetry.

Video Credit: Adriana Foreman, @Yanimadit

Image Description: A video by Adriana Foreman shows clips from the Art Shaping Change Workshop of people experimenting with shadow puppetry performance.

In March and April artists Laurie Witzkowski and Anne Sawyer are working at St. Joan of Arc with families to create masks for their Easter and Palm Sunday services. Using newspaper, paper mache, and cardboard between 50 - 100 people of all ages have been crafting masks that represent the beauty they see in the world.


Image Description: A photo of cardboard masks arranged in a circle are splayed out on a table at St. Joan of Arc.

In March 2023 students from Hibbing High School learned how to make hand puppets and move with a whole variety of puppets on a field trip to the Avalon. The workshop was led by Madeline Helling.

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Image Description: A photo of a students group crowded together, each wearing small animal hand puppets they crafted in the Avalon Theater.

Artists Julie Boada, Gustavo Boada, and Laurie Witzkowski also teamed up with HOBT to teach a week- long mask making residency to all of the sixth graders at St. Paul Academy this past January 2023.

Students reflected on their identities to create masks using clay, paper mache, and colored paper to bring forward important parts of themselves.

Artists also taught students all about the importance of body language and the power of a pose to express emotion with a mask. We thank this incredible team of teaching artists, educators and engaged middle schoolers!

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Image Description: The photo shows a crowd of students, piled together seated on the floor wearing a variety of their handmade colorful masks, looking up.

Starting in January 2023, HOBT teamed up with local puppeteer and teaching artist, Dominique Herskind to provide an after school puppet-making class at Ella Baker Global Studies & Humanities magnet school. students played and performed with their puppet creations.

Dominique worked with first through third graders on winter themed puppets and masks (think paper mache giant hot cocoa mugs and handsome cardboard snow-people).

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Image Description: a photo of six students wearing different handmade cardboard masks and striking poses.

December 2022, HOBT partnered with other amazing orgz who showed up for Border CrosSing's event, Las Posadas community sings. It was a beautiful event full of puppets, music, art and food.

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Image Description: An audience at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church watch puppeteers guide large puppets of Maria riding the donkey and Jose at their side. Puppets by Sandy Spieler.


Fall of 2022, HOBT staff and board setup at the American Swedish Institute's Community Open House. Kids stopped by a playroom that an HOBT station to color and then "feed" popsicle stick worms to our bird puppet. It was a blast!

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Image Description: A photo of a child and adult kneeling at a table draped in blue. Board member Tia sits behind the table in a mask. A colorful bird puppet is perched on the table, mouth open. Another red cardinal puppet sits at the back of the table.

Fall of 2022 HOBT artists and staff set up a table to craft cardboard masks at one free MIA family day event. The theme was in line with an exhibit on display "Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi." Kids made masks with pom poms, feathers, markers, and more. Then, they marched through museum halls.

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Image Description: a photo of a small child holding a colored pencil at an orange table with adult helping hands beside them. A blank blue mask sit in front of the child and misc. materials  like pom poms, glue, and paper, are strewn about the table.

HOBT at Henry High

Fall of 2022 Theater and dance teacher Christopher Michael's Theatre Production class & Henry Drama Club presents Qui Nguyen's "She Kills Monsters" November 10 & 11 at 7pm and Saturday, November 12 at 1pm. Students have been working with lead puppet artists Andrew Young and Dillon Sebastian to create a massive 16 ft Tiamat puppet (a five-headed dragon) that one character will battle, a symbol of her own struggle to deal with grief.
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Image Description: Four students paper mache a dragon head together in Henry's theater.

HOBT at Free First Saturday

HOBT collaborated with the Walker Art Center on Saturday, September 3, 2022, to be a part of their Free First Saturday. Puppeteers dressed as pollinators buzzed about the Minneapolis sculpture garden delighting guests. Star and moon puppets roamed the area. There was also a puppet show, How to Know a Whale, created and performed by Felicia Cooper.

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Public Engagement, Learning and Impact. Free First Saturday: Wiggles and Stillness, September 3, 2022. Photo by Carina Lofgren, courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

Image Description: Two photos appear. The first is a photo of Felicia Cooper performing a puppet show with a blue submarine in the background in front of a crowd. The second photos shows HOBT puppeteers dressed as bees running towards the camera in the sculpture garden.

HOBT & the MN Orchestra Team Up

Summer of 2022 HOBT worked with puppeteers Madeline Helling, Akiko Ostlund, and Gustavo Boada to add visual accompaniment to the piece 'The Moldau' by Smetana with the MN Orchestra at the end of July! Other artists and volunteers lent their talents as well, rehearsing and performing.

Puppeteers performed for multiple school groups at Orchestra Hall and for the public  Halloween weekend 2022. A huge thanks to lead artists like Esther Ouray, Laurie Witzkowski, Julie Boada, plus an incredible team of talented puppeteers.

Image Description: A video clip shows various puppeteers dressed as animals like fox and frog wearing suits, conducting the MN orchestra. Musicians in all black carry stringed instruments.

Image Description: A still of a clickable youtube video with the MN Orchestra, showing a green puppet troll head by Beth Peterson and blue goblin-like puppets with text that reads "In the Hall of the Mountain King."