Bart Buch believes one of the most important contributions both artists and educators can make is to help develop a sense of real self-confidence in individuals through expression and growth of specific gifts or talents they have to share. Bart fosters the birth and growth of these unique gifts through puppetry arts residencies.
Puppetry arts is a strong medium for nearly all people to express themselves. It provides a diversity of activities, such as papier-mâché, painting, sculpture, design, storytelling, movement, music, and more. Bart incorporates an array of tasks so that a person can feel drawn to at least one of the stages, if not all. It is Bart's observation that children make the best puppets and puppeteers because they easily imbue objects with teeming life. In his own artistic work, he creates "puppet poems," puppet shows that are based on poetry, but rely heavily on music and movement as language. Interpreting, adapting, and creating poetry with puppets is what ignites him as an artist.
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Bart has been teaching for 25 years, first as a classroom and special education teacher and now as a puppet artist for the past 20 years. As a Teaching Artist, he has worked for In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, The Minnesota State Arts Board, Intermedia Arts, Stages Theatre, Ordway Center for Performing Arts, VSA of Minnesota, Urban Arts Academy and more. Through this experience, he recognizes the strength of integrating and complementing puppetry into classroom curriculum to create a holistic learning environment.
Bart’s residencies can take many forms. Recently in a fourth grade class, he created a Bill and Ted-style excellent adventure through Minnesota history with hand puppets. In a residency at a church, they interpreted the passion play for Palm Sunday with families from the congregation using large puppets and masks. With homeless GLBT youth, Bart created a shadow puppet show based on poetry with a full chorus accompaniment. Residencies can involve masks and puppets of a hundred varieties, stilting, poetry, and singing. They can last 1-3 weeks in length and have three phases: story and puppet design, puppet building, and rehearsing for a performance, which is the culmination of the residency.
Bart has a B.A. in English from Valparaiso University and a B.A. in Elementary Education from The University of Iowa. He's trained in puppetry and theatre with Eric Bass of Sandglass Theatre, Basil Twist of Dream Music Puppetry Program, Sandy Spieler of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, Michael Sommers of Open Eye Theatre, and Great Small Works.
With many puppet forms to choose from: handpuppets, masks, table-top puppets, Bunraku-inspired puppets, shadow puppets, toy theatre, 3 pole puppets, crankies and more, we can focus on one or more of the below models.
1. Puppet and Mask Basics- Visual Arts and Movement Create puppets and/or masks and learn basic movement.
2. Storytelling with Puppets- Language Arts and Social Studies Adapt a pre-existing story, myth, folktale, poem or song into a puppet/mask performance. Collectively or individually create stories, poems, songs, myths, or folktales and adapt into a puppet/mask performances.
3. Microbes to Galaxies- Science/Biology/Ecology Create a curriculum-based puppet/mask performance exploring and reflecting on the natural world.
4. Speak Your Truth Create puppets and puppets scenes about individual and community identities.
5. Whole School Pageant or Parade A large-scale puppet and mask play for the whole school community to celebrate, commemorate and emphasize school-wide curriculum and values.
Residencies usually are 5-15 sessions per group of students.
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