From 2006-2009, I was the recipient of the Ahmanson Foundation Scholarship while I was pursuing my MFA in puppetry and design at California Institute for the Arts through the Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts. At CalArts, I was under the mentorship of Janie Geiser and Susan Simpson and developed two major productions: Growing Up Linda and Bride of Wildenstein – The Musical.
The Ahmanson Foundation serves Los Angeles County by funding cultural projects in the arts and humanities, education at all levels, health care, programs related to homelessness and underserved populations as well as a wide range of human services. By supporting non-profit organizations that demonstrate sound fiscal management, efficient operation, and program integrity, the Foundation strives to enhance the quality of life and cultural legacy of the Los Angeles community.
More about The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and Arts from the World Encyclopedia of Puppetry Arts:
[The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and Arts is an] American teaching laboratory for contemporary puppetry and performing objects, a Center within the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, [CA]. The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts was founded in 1998. In 2012, the Center’s courses and focus on puppetry were folded into the overall curriculum of the CalArts School of Theater, where puppet and object theatre remain an important focus and a critical interdisciplinary presence within the Institute.
CalArts, situated 30 miles.. from Los Angeles, was founded as an art school generously supported by Walt and Roy O. Disney in 1961. By 1971, the school offered degrees in art, dance, film (animation), and theatre. Housed in the School of Theater, the puppetry program was established in 1998 with the goal of making the most creative developments in contemporary puppetry available to the students across the Institute’s six schools.
The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts was created to offer a framework for practical training, artistic innovation, aesthetic inquiry and interdisciplinary investigation. In keeping with the evolution of puppetry through the integration of different art forms, CalArts strives to combine puppet theatre with the use of new technologies and emerging forms and practices that cut across traditional boundaries. These principles continue in the newly integrated puppetry courses, which are open to all students from across the Institute. Students can take a single course as an elective, or a series of courses, creating a focus in puppetry, which includes opportunities to create and produce original work..