The Center for Puppetry Arts opened to the public on September 23, 1978, when Kermit the Frog and his creator Jim Henson cut the ceremonial ribbon. Today it is the largest American non-profit organization solely dedicated to the art of puppet theater.
The Center's story begins when a young puppeteer from Florida, Vincent Anthony, began touring with Nicolo Marionettes under the tutelage of Nicholas Coppola based out of New York. By 1966, he was ready for a smaller community where he could be an active partner and make a difference. He pursued the vision of a center that would promote puppetry and become a vital part of the community. He decided to call Atlanta home and created Vagabond Marionettes with Mitchell Edmonds.
The Vagabond Marionettes traveled around the Southeast and presented several seasons at Atlanta's Woodruff Arts Center. In 1978, Anthony found a permanent home in the former Spring Street Elementary School and the Center was born. That first season, the Center mounted an exhibition of puppets, presented shows for adults and families, and hosted community-based workshops and activities that continue to this day.
Since its inception, the Center has worked to serve the diverse populations of Atlanta, the state of Georgia, and the country at large. The Center reaches the community through its focus on core programming: performance, Museum and education.
Throughout the years, the Center has been a leading voice in the field, and has hosted numerous conferences and festivals. In addition, the Center has been recognized both nationally and internationally as an organization for excellence. The Ford Foundation recently selected the Center as one of only 28 national organizations to be recognized for success in management and innovative programs. The prestigious Kresge Foundation awarded the Center three different grants to support its capital campaigns. The Center was also the only theater group chosen by the 1996 Olympics to participate in all four years of its arts festival program, garnering recognition from Newsweek as "one of the most exciting companies in American theater."