JMArts receives grant for high school artists creating puppets for ‘Into the Woods’

SILER CITY, N.C. — Jordan-Matthews High School artists are creating puppets for the fall musical, “Into the Woods,” thanks in part to a grant announced today.

The $1,600 Grassroots Arts Grant was awarded to JMArts, the Jordan-Matthews Arts Foundation, from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, through the Chatham Arts Council.

Grant money is being used to bring artist Donovan Zimmerman to campus during a six-week fall residency to teach papier-mache technique and help student artists create puppets for “Into the Woods,” the school’s fall musical with three performances from November 14 to 16.

Zimmerman is co-founder and director of Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a renowned artistic organization based in Saxapahaw. As described on their website, Paperhand “uses diverse styles of puppetry and artistic expression to create works that inspire, promote social change and are deeply rewarding for all involved.”

Art teacher Rahma Mateen-Mason believes those goals have been shared by her students creating larger-than-life puppets for a musical where fairytale characters get what they wish for, but the consequences aren’t exactly what they expected.

“Working with Donovan was an amazing experience,” she said. “These papier-mache techniques that we learned will be implemented in my future classes. I know now that anything can be made using the techniques that Donovan taught us. And we are extremely grateful to both the Chatham Arts Council and all the folks who have supported JMArts.”

The Grassroots grant was matched by JMArts, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with more than 80 members and five organizational partners working to provide what JM artists need to excel.

More information about JMArts, including how to become a member, is available online at Tickets to “Into the Woods”  are now on sale at