Anthony has served in his current leadership role since founding the Center in 1978 when Kermit the Frog and his creator Jim Henson cut the ceremonial ribbon to open their first building. He has served as Executive Director ever since, overseeing all aspects of its operation. Over his incredible 41-year leadership tenure, the Center developed into a leading, internationally recognized institution providing award-winning performances and acclaimed educational programming. Its museum has collected and conserved thousands of artistically significant puppets and artifacts from around the world. A milestone in Anthony’s career was securing the world’s largest collection of Jim Henson’s work, including Big Bird, Elmo, Bert, Cookie Monster and more. Under Anthony’s leadership, the Center has received a record 13 Citations of Excellence from UNIMA-USA. Today, it is the largest American non-profit organization solely dedicated to the art form of puppetry.
During Anthony’s career, he has received accolades, including the Puppeteers of America President’s Award (1989); the Lexus Leader of the Arts Award (2001); and the Georgia Arts & Entertainment Legacy Award (2007). He has served on review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Georgia Council for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group. He has been a member of the Delta Airlines Global Diversity Alliance and member of the White House Disability Group. Since 1992, he has served as General Secretary for UNIMA-USA, and has served as an Executive Committee Member (1996-2004) and Vice President (2000-2004) of UNIMA, representing puppeteers in over 100 countries. In 2016 he was inducted into the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Hospitality Hall of Fame. Most recently, he received Arts ATL’s Luminary Award for Outstanding Leadership in 2019.
“Vince created a true cultural treasure for Atlanta in the Center for Puppetry Arts. We are very fortunate to have had him at the helm for 41 years. Vince helped put Atlanta on the map with his ability to attract some of the best talent in the country to create the Center’s internationally recognized programming. Vince has built a lasting legacy for our community,” said Board of Directors Chairman Allen W. Yee. “We are very grateful to have had the vision and leadership of Vince. Our challenge now will be to honor his legacy as we move toward the Center’s future.”
“The Center for Puppetry Arts has been my life’s work with the amazing opportunity to work with so many great people to bring the magic of puppetry to life for hundreds of thousands of children and adults,” said Vince Anthony. “It has given me the opportunity to develop new artistic work combined with educational programming and a world class museum.”
Anthony’s legacy is prodigious not only for creating such a unique asset situated in Atlanta, but for having the vision and creativity to touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living in and visiting Atlanta from around the globe. A search for the Center’s future executive leadership with the vision, talent and leadership to carry on Vince’s legacy is now underway. In the meantime, Beth Schiavo will serve as Interim Managing Director overseeing the Center’s day-to-day operations with active involvement of the Board of Directors and counsel from Anthony. As former Managing Director and CFO of Atlanta-based North Highland Consulting, Partner with international accounting and consulting firm EY LLP, and a volunteer and board member of some of Atlanta’s leading non-profit organizations, including the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta and The Woodruff Arts Center, Schiavo brings a wealth of experience to the Center for Puppetry Arts.