The Asheville Area Arts Council (AAAC) hosts Street Creatures and Dancing Beasts, a puppetry exhibit curated by Jennifer Murphy, from Friday, October 4, through Monday, October 28, in the AAAC’s Exhibition Space. An opening reception takes place October 4, from 5–8 p.m., with an artist talk and family-friendly marionette performance at 6:30 p.m.
“This exhibit will feature the work of elder masters and young puppeteers, community collaborations and professional performers,” says Murphy. “I wanted to give viewers a taste of the rich breadth and depth of Asheville’s puppetry community.”
The puppets are made by local artists showing diverse styles and forms in a range of sizes and materials including five-inch wooden monsters, five-foot papier-mâché owls and carved foam sea creatures with wizardly mechanisms. A menagerie of animals, both real and imaginary, dance around the gallery bringing myth and folklore to life.
“I hope viewers appreciate the craftsmanship and artistic intention in the work being presented,” says participating artist Jim Julien. “Although a puppet is really intended to be performed with, I feel their beauty can be seen in stillness as well as in action.”
Among the puppets exhibited are Julien’s realistic canine figures; Luce Romaldini’s truth-telling cardboard figures; strange creatures of the dark side conjured by Edwin Salas; Geneva Bierce-Wilson’s small dragons and large worms; figures by Hobey Ford, winner of puppetry’s highest honor, the UNIMA Citation of Excellence; and collaborative parade puppets by Street Creature Puppets collective, of which Murphy is co-founder.