Vincent Anthony, Founder of the Center for Puppetry Arts, Retires as Executive Director for New Role as Executive Advisor

Vincent Anthony, Founder of the Center for Puppetry Arts, Retires as Executive Director for New Role as Executive Advisor

ATLANTA (October 14, 2019) – The Center for Puppetry Arts announced today that Founder and Executive Director Vincent Anthony is retiring effective December 31, 2019. Anthony will transition into the role of Executive Advisor focusing his time on UNIMA-USA (the US division of Union Internationale de la Marionnette, the international organization for the art of puppetry), fundraising and assisting with a new strategic plan for the Center. Anthony will also be working as a consultant for small and emerging puppet theater companies around the country. Beth Schiavo will serve as interim Managing Director of the organization effective immediately. A national search is being conducted to identify future executive leadership for the Center.

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.

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Becca Meyer BRAVE Public Relations
Therese Aun Center for Puppetry Arts
Becca Meyer BRAVE Public Relations
Therese Aun Center for Puppetry Arts
About Center for Puppetry Arts

The Center for Puppetry Arts is supported in part by: Fulton County Arts Council • City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs • Georgia Council for the Arts • The Zeist Foundation • The Wish Foundation Fund of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

For a complete list of the Center’s major supporters, visit

Center for Puppetry Arts® is a unique cultural treasure – a magical place where children and adults are educated, enlightened, and entertained. Since 1978, the Center has introduced millions of visitors to the wonder and art of puppetry and has touched the lives of many through enchanting performances, curriculum-based workshops, and the hands-on Museum as well as Distance Learning and Outreach programs. Center for Puppetry Arts is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization and is supported in part by contributions from corporations, foundations, government agencies, and individuals. Major funding is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. These programs are also supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. GCA is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Center is a member of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA/USA/ASSITEJ).The Center also serves as headquarters of UNIMA-USA, the American branch of Union Internationale de la Marionnette, the international puppetry organization.

Center for Puppetry Arts
1404 Spring Street
Atlanta, GA 30309