By Howard Pousner
The Center for Puppetry Arts received some serious props at last week’s Suzi Bass Awards, Atlanta’s version of the Tonys, when it was honored with the 2011 Spirit of Suzi Award. The annual prize acknowledges long-term commitment to Atlanta’s theater scene, a motion anyone familiar with the city’s cultural infrastructure would second.
In fact, the Suzi statue is one in a string of honors this year for the center, founded in 1978 by Vincent Anthony, still its executive director:
The award is presented to organizations for K-12 standards-based interactive videoconferencing programs. Via www.cilc.org, the center offers offer nationwide Distance Learning programs to students as well as professional development workshops for educators. Its programs complement national curriculum standards in language arts, social studies, science, math and other areas.
“A true Atlanta treasure,” is how Suzi Awards executive director Deadra Moore referred to the center. Moore praised it for the exposure it brings to the city as a performance site for Atlanta, national and international artists as well as for its educational mission that reaches the youngest schoolchildren to aspiring professional puppeteers.
The center, at 1404 Spring St. N.W. (at 18th Street), is preparing for a busy holiday season, with a just-opened encore of Jon Ludwig’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” running through Dec. 31.
And with “The Muppets” opening in movie theaters, Nov. 23, there should be added interest in the puppetry center’s three Jim Henson long-term exhibits. Henson and his famed creation Kermit the Frog cut the ceremonial ribbon opening the center in 1978. More information: 404-873-3391, www.puppet.org.
Holiday spirit downtown
Tickets are on sale now Christmas on Peachtree, a new holiday event at 200 Peachtree, the special events space in the former Macy’s downtown. Running Nov. 25 through year’s end, the event will feature more than 70,000 square feet of family fun (including a life-size toy train in Cartoon Network’s Children’s Adventure Area), food and shopping. $12; $8 children via www.christmasonpeachtree.com. More info: 404-564-7077. HOWARD POUSNER