Past Partnerships

We are always excited to partner with organizations that have similar missions and values as ours. Here are some of the amazing partnerships we have had over the last few years.

Harriet Tubman Center

Happy Places Workshops

Families at the Harriet Tubman Shelter were asked to imagine their Happy Places and create miniature Toy Theaters depicting what or who they would put in their worlds.

Bethune Community School

Thanks to funding from the National Turnaround Arts program, Z Puppets is bringing the Monkey Mind Pirates to Bethune Community School in Minneapolis in early 2016.

Kindergartners, 1st graders and 2nd graders are learning to find Calm in the midst of the storms.

New London Arts Alliance

New London, MN

Z Puppets travels to New London, MN for a series of performances and workshops thanks to the MN State Arts Board Arts Tour program and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Legacy Amendment. 

This partnership with the New London Arts Alliance is placing Z Puppets artists into schools, festivals, libraries, and theaters in the New London area throughout 2015 and 2016.

See below for upcoming events:


This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.


The STEM of Blacklight Puppetry

In 2016, Z Puppets is working with Technical Tools of the Trade to bring performances and residencies to Cherokee Heights Elementary School and Riverview West Side School of Excellence in Saint Paul.

2nd graders will use the engineering design process to create glow-in-the-dark puppets of underwater creatures.

Sacred Heart Music Center

Duluth, MN

The Quest for Calm Day returns to Duluth!

Start your family’s New Year with the Quest for Calm and turn your “Arrghs” into “Oms” with the critically-acclaimed puppet musical, Monkey Mind Pirates Family Yoga Party, Thursday, December 31st, 2016 at 2:30 pm at Sacred Heart Music Center

Celebrate Duluth’s 3rd Annual Quest for Calm Day — an event established by a 2013 proclamation by Mayor Don Ness in honor of Z Puppets’ award-winning arts and mindfulness program.

Doors open at 1:30pm for Z Puppets’ Family Happy Hour of creative activities and yoga-themed fun on the Island of Calm.  The performance and activities are recommended for ages 2 and up.  

Stillwater Library & Valley Friendship Club

Stillwater, Mn

Throughout 2015, Z Puppets partnered with the Stillwater Public Library and the Valley Friendship Club to present a series of STEM of Puppetry performances and workshops at the library, and two innovative summer camps. 

•Spring performances and workshops investigating artistic and scientific processes of puppetry for youth (ages 7+)

•Summer arts and mindfulness camp for youth (ages 7+) using STEM concepts to create and perform two types of puppetry in Z Puppets’ musical with health-science theme of stress relief

•Summer camp for junior high students to create and perform puppetry about basic cell science

All events will be designed for, promoted to and accommodate youth with and without developmental disabilities. Combined with extensive planning and community outreach, Z Puppets’ Stillwater STEM series will advance the goals of Z Puppets, the Library and VFC.

VFC is a non-profit founded in 2010 by a group of Washington County parents who saw the need for experiences to foster innovation, independence and relationships for young people with and without disabilities.

Stillwater Library seeks to inspire lifelong learning, as reflected in their motto, “Let your mind run deep!”

By teaming with these two partners in Stillwater, Z Puppets will integrate and advance our top four initiatives: arts for people with special needs; STEM of Puppetry, arts and mindfulness and community partnerships.


The STEM of Puppetry Performances


The STEM of Puppetry Workshops

Z Puppets conducted a series of workshops at the Stillwater Library designed to explore the STEM of Puppetry. 

Each workshop focused on a different style of puppet, including:

  • Found Object puppets
  • Glow-in-the-Dark puppets
  • Sock puppets
  • Toy Theater Puppets


The Cell Science Summer Camp

Exploring Cell Science, 2015

Cell Science Camp Final Performances

Making Shadow Puppets for Cell Science Camp, 2015

Monkey Mind Pirates Summer Camp

Rehearsing for Monkey Mind Pirates performance

American Indian Family Center

saint paul, mn

Your music and puppets gave our family a way to talk more clearly about emotions with our children. You provide good, practical ideas to children and adults about how to transform and face emotions.
— Participant Survey

In 2012, Z Puppets partnered with AIFC through a Partner In Arts Participation grant through the MN State Arts Board to produce a series of Arts and Mindfulness stress reduction workshops for Native youth and their families.

Based on Z Puppets' popular Monkey Mind Pirates curriculum, students at the American Indian Magnet School Youth Enrichment Summer Program learned yoga and mindfulness techniques while making puppets and singing songs.

Families connected with the AIFC then had the opportunity to participate in a series of evening workshops making puppets and writing a song for a public performance at the Dayton's Bluff Recreational Center in St. Paul.



Here are the lyrics the families wrote about their idea of Calm:

We have fallen for MMP BIG!
— Participant Survey

Light as cotton candy,

Life is sweet & dandy:

Tropical fruit, juicy and tart,

Strawberries red, as my heart!

Lying flat on a beautiful mat

Inhale, exhale, just like that

Relax and let go of time

x: Listen to the peaceful chime!

Nii mi lapping against my lip,

water cooling as I sip.

Sailing on a silent bear,

Soft as a little wolf's hair

Lavender lilacs lifting lightly,

In the morning blooming  brightly,

Quiet as a blue sky

Fluffy clouds floating by

Download the Evaluation Findings conducted by Blue Scarf Consulting


Mankato YMCA

Mankato, MN

Z Puppets partnered in 2012 with the YMCA of Mankato, working with youth in the Brother/Sister program and our Monkey Mind Pirates arts and mindfulness program. Funded through the Partners In Arts Participation Program of the MN State Arts Board, the program performed in the Lincoln School.

In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre

minneapolis, mn

Z Puppets has a long time partnership with HOBT since our beginnings in 1998, performing annually in their Saturday Matinee Series, as part of the May Day Parade and Festival, the PuppetLab series for new works, and occasionally on their Mainstage.

In 2012, Z Puppets co-presented with HOBT our Monkey Mind Pirates performance, recruiting families for the first time to become part of our Sailor Chorus, and selling out the 300-seat venue. With sponsorships from local businesses, the performance was also chosen as a "Best Bet" by the Pioneer Press. 

Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota

saint paul, MN

I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for my family. I never thought I would see him do something like this!
— Father of participant
After months of trying to get my son to talk about his stress, he called me up after the workshop and said he wanted to talk about it!
— Mother of participant

in 2011, Z Puppets partnered with DSAM to present a series of arts & mindfulness workshops to adults with Down Syndrome. Our first experience adapting Monkey Mind Pirates for adults with special needs turned out to be a much larger success than even we anticipated. 

Here are the lyrics for their heavy metal-inspired Legend of Calm:

Squeezing smoothies from a mango

Peach and Orange dancing tango

Souls in the wind on Jupiter’s ring

Music and dancing makes us sing!


Calm is what I like to do

Everyone likes calm in their life

We are the calming crew

Come and join our ship! (Total wreck..)


Pizza baking in an oven

Smell of gravy is what I’m lovin’

The sound of deer eating grass

Graceful, pretty, kinda fast


Calm is what I like to do

Everyone likes calm in their life

We are the calming crew

Come and join our ship! (Total wreck..)


I listen to the water drip, drip, drip

An ice cold pepsi I sip, sip, sip.

I like to eat some garlic bread

And sip sprite. . . in my bed!


Calm is what I like to do

Everyone likes calm in their life

We are the calming crew

Come and join our ship! (Total wreck..)


Calm in a voice that our souls request

The legend of calm requires our best

Soldiers marching to a beat

Cool it down, in the heat.


Calm is what I like to do

Everyone likes calm in their life

We are the calming crew

Come and join our ship! (Total wreck..)

Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota

Mankato, mn


In 2012, the Children's Museum of Southern MN hosted a week-long Monkey Mind Pirates residency, combining puppetry, music and mindfulness. Using the story of a ship's Captain who overcomes the stress, anxiety and distraction of the Monkey Mind Pirates as a springboard, children ages 8-11 do yoga, puppetry and songwriting. The participants create and perform scenes alongside Z Puppets and a 3-piece band in a professional public production.  

Myles Reif Performing Arts Center

grand rapids, mN

New York Mills Center for the Arts

New York mills, MN

Our Neighborhood Works/Camden Music Center

Minneapolis, MN

In 2010 and 2011, Z Puppets partnered with the Minneapolis Northside community organization Our Neighborhood Works and the Camden Music School to premeire our first Monkey Mind Pirates workshops for Arts & Mindfulness. Funded through a Partners In Arts Participation Program by the Minnesota State Arts Board, the summer camp performed at The Warren (2010) and at The Historic Ritz Theater.

Lake Agassiz Library System


Arrowhead Library System


Saint Paul Public Libraries

saint paul, mn

Great River Library System


Blue Earth Library System


Individual Minnesota Libraries