Local based StoneLion Puppet Theatre, a 501© 3 non-profit, has recently been awarded Arts Envoy status by the State Department to travel to Suva, Fiji. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji has sponsored this program. Artistic Director Heather Nisbett-Loewenstein will lead a team of master puppeteers to travel to Fiji as the guests of The National University of Fiji, The Fiji Arts Council and The Hibiscus Festival. Loewenstein, Taylor Gass and Eva Hall will spend two weeks in August leading local school children and professional artists to build giant puppets and use art to convey environmental issues such as over fishing and the pollution of our oceans to the residents and tourists of the islands. These puppets will be used in the closing parade of the South Pacific’s largest art event, The Hibiscus Festival, August 20, 2016. Additional master classes with Fijian dance and music companies will create a cultural exchange to influence StoneLion’s work back at home.
But that’s not all….Loewenstein will continue her travels this fall. September finds her in Lund, Sweden to lead classes on arts for the environment at The International School Grounds Alliance conference alongside environmental partner Shari Wilson from Project Central. These workshops are based on their collaborative work sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency Region Seven this last year. Wilson and Loewenstein traveled across the four state region teaching pre-service education majors and other college students the need to use art as a vehicle in the classroom.
StoneLion also recently was award a grant from the State Department to take a similar program into Universities and NGO’s in Vietnam and Laos through the Mekong Delta Initiative. This outreach will take place in February and March of 2017 with a side trip into Cambodia to work with the Giant Puppet Project of Siem Reap once again.
Loewenstein is the 2016 Lighton Prize winner from Kansas City Young Audiences for Teaching Artist of the Year.
All of this will be alongside StoneLion Puppet Theatre’s regular programming which in 2015 included 314 performances and workshops, four neighborhood art festivals and three giant puppet events/parades locally. StoneLion is a KC Parks Partner.