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Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts, which turns 40 this month, is one of the only institutions of its caliber in the world. Meet the devoted staff behind it, who can remind all of us how important it is to stop and play.
When Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog cut the ribbon in 1978, the former Spring Street Elementary School had only one exhibition and a few shows devoted to puppets. Nearly 40 years later, the Midtown space has grown to be the largest nonprofit puppetry theater in the country.
On November 14, Kermit returns as part of the center’s 7,500-square-foot Worlds of Puppetry Museum, which includes two permanent galleries: one devoted to 3,000-plus international puppets and another featuring some of the 500 Muppets and props donated by Henson’s family in 2007.
Kermit and friends are coming to the Center for Puppetry Arts this fall. To fit all the frogs and Fraggles, the center is building an expansion set to open on November 14. We took a tour of the grounds this week and learned a few surprising things about the Muppets and the Muppety Man's exhibition.
In the Center for Puppetry Arts’ atrium, a coterie of America’s puppetry elite stand in a semicircle, contemplating an acrylic-encased Miss Piggy. The starry-eyed swine sports the feathery boa and sarong she wore in 1996’s Muppet Treasure Island, her curlicue locks blonde as ever. “She’s beautiful,” says Bonnie Erickson, who created Miss Piggy and now directs the Jim Henson Legacy. “She gets better and better.”