One of the key tenets of Puppeteers of America is to foster and support community. Because of social distancing measures necessary due to COVID-19, many in our community have lost work doing what we love — performing, teaching, and sharing the art of puppetry in all its forms. To that end, Puppeteers of America, in partnership with UNIMA-USA, announces a new initiative: a Direct Relief Fund for Puppet Artists. This fund began with seed money from Cheryl Henson and Heather Henson specifically for this purpose, with the hope it can be sustained with merchandise purchases and support from ongoing donations.
Who is eligible?
People who are members of PofA or UNIMA-USA (or have been within the last year) that have documented losses of a minimum of $500 of work in the puppetry field due to COVID-19. Additionally, applicants must have a bank account in the United States. Members of the Board of PofA and the Fund Committee may not apply.
How does it work?
One-time grants of $500 will be distributed on a first-come, first-served, rolling basis. When the fund is depleted, qualified applicants will be placed on a waiting list and served if/as additional funds become available.
Who put this together?
The Fund Committee includes representatives from Puppeteers of America, UNIMA-USA, and IBEX Puppetry. We are Dustin Curtis, Alex U. Griffin, Paul Robinson, Jessica Simon, and Chad Williams.
How can I help?
Make a donation to the fund and buy some merch! On Saturday, May 9th, IBEX Puppetry and the Puppet Slam Network present a special-edition online National Puppet Slam: Slamdemic! All proceeds from the tshirts and mugs with artwork by Valerie Meiss will go towards the fund.
National Puppet Slamdemic Merch
The Direct Relief Fund began with seed contributions from Cheryl Henson and Heather Henson and has continued to grow through generous donations from the Marc Dunworth Foundation for the Performing Arts and numerous individuals. Thank you all for supporting community by either your donations or merchandise purchases! Thank you!
Grant Baciocco – Under The Puppet
Michael & Lauren Bird
Amy Boyle Johnston
Brian Brown – BSB3 Photography
Rob Cutler – UConn
Kuang-Yu Fong – Chinese Theatre Works
Alex U. Griffin
Kurt & Kathy Hunter
Stephen Kaplin – Chinese Theatre Works, Great Small Works
Tae Yeon Kim
Diane Koszarski – Pink Flamingo Puppets
Monica Leo-Jenks – Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre
Ann Mesritz Gronvold
Evan O’Sullivan – O’Television Productions
Nancy Smith – Great Arizona Puppets
Carol Sterling – School Art league
Frederick W. Thompson
Michael Vetere III
Kevin White – nycstringpuller