Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

Manhattanville Junior Expands Her Love of Puppetry Through Internship

hoyt bucketJunior Ali Hoyt interned at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry (BIMP), a part of the University of Connecticut's Bolton College, this summer helping to catalog and preserve Frank Ballard marionettes. She is spending her fall semester doing research in The Republic of Guinea, West Africa, where she plans to learn the traditional techniques of creating and performing as an apprentice puppeteer.

In her work as an intern at Ballard, Hoyt first cleaned and repaired damaged pieces of the collection and then photographed each of the 40-year old puppets. She also created a new labeling system that included photos of the puppets, accession numbers, and item number that will make caring and locating puppets in the collection easier. She has chosen to work with puppets because she sees them as a way to connect different types of art.

"I believe puppetry is one of the most simple, pure forms of theater," Hoyt said. "In order to be a great puppeteer, one must not only be an artist in one field; one must be able to perform, act, carve, paint, sew, draw stage and set designs, and write scripts."

The range knowledge needed to work with puppets led Hoyt to take a diverse range of classes at Manhattanville.

"The courses I've taken at Manhattanville have given me a breadth of knowledge regarding the appreciation of art, its history," the art history major said." They've shown me the importance of preserving art for future generations to appreciate and reflect upon."

During the Art History department trip to Rome, it became clear just how much appreciation Hoyt has for the arts.

"At one point I asked her if she was enjoying her first trip to Italy," stated Professor Lisa Rafanelli. "She looked at me and said that she just realized how very grateful she was for the gift of sight, and the ability to see all of the marvelous things that people had created."

Hoyt intends to write a blog about her experiences in The Republic of Guinea and will give a presentation to the Manhattanville community when she returns in the spring.