Mission:  To bring art into community and community into art through movement, puppetry and spectacle performance; creative re-use, education, and collaboration.

BareBones Productions is a Minneapolis-based 501(c)(3) performing arts non-profit.  We operate as a collective of visual and performing artists to produce visionary parade sections, outdoor installations, and spectacle performances, generally involving stilting, bicycles, and great big puppets.

Our grandest production is The Annual Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza, a cult favorite throughout the Twin Cities.

Over the years, BareBones has also produced five annual Winter Pageants on ice and snow, five summertime Dumpster Duels performance competitions based on scavenged garbage, and various other outdoor puppet shows including The Little Match Girl and Raven Steals the Sun.

Our venues have been public parks and other public spaces around the Twin Cities. These include Minnehaha Falls Park and Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis, Dunning Fields and Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and the parking lots at Bedlam Theatre and the Midtown Public Market in Minneapolis.

BareBones has performed in parades and escapades throughout the Twin Cities metro area including the Independence Day parades in Edina and Marine-on-St. Croix, the Minneapolis Aquatennial Torchlight Parade, the Midtown Greenway Parade Of Arts, the annual Labor Day Picnic at Harriet Island in St. Paul, the Bike-In at the Bell Museum, the St. Paul Classic Bike Tour, the Minneapolis Peace Games, and the Minnesota State Fair Mall Parade.

In addition, BareBones has, for many summers, provided visual and performing arts residencies for youth under contract with the Twin Cities Housing Development Corporation.  Our TCHDC residencies have included Calibre Ridge in Roseville in collaboration with Campfire USA and Liberty Plaza in St. Paul in collaboration with Concordia University.  More recently, BareBones partnered for a Spring Break residency with Opportunity Neighborhood at Garden View Apartments  in Brooklyn Center.

A hand working on a puppet.

Board of Directors / 2021-2022 Season

  • Arwen Wilder (Co-Chair)
  • Peter Schulze (Co-Chair)
  • Phil Dumka (Secretary)
  • Joe Sullivan (Treasurer)
  • Mina Leierwood

BareBones 2021 Statement of Intention

BareBones exists to present the Halloween Extravaganza. It is a vehicle for naming, mourning and honoring the dead, both the known and unknown, including the victims of neglect, police brutality and genocide. It is an event for collective grieving through community art as we enter the cold and dark time of the year. These things are desperately needed in 2021. As artists our tools are vision, manifestation, transformation.

Barebones, and each of us in the United States, exist within a history of theft, genocide, slavery and white-body supremacy. We live and work and make art in the context of systems which intentionally build inequity and division, and a context of massive brutality by those in power at every level which rips from us our humanity and our connection to our bodies and the earth. In recent years we have taken steps towards undoing white-body supremacy within BareBones, with an eye on Minneapolis and the larger culture. We promise to do more. Here, we continue the following action promises to be accountable to.

Removing barriers to participation: We will consider this as we make every decision about governance, hiring, location, cost, content and messaging.

More about hiring: This year, as in other recent years, we commit to hiring — especially to leadership positions — at least 50% people who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, transgender, queer, people with disabilities and women.

Learning/unlearning: This year we will again offer the following.

  1. for Black and Brown bodies: Black, Indigenous, people of of color only special event during the making of the show for social and artistic support
  2. for white bodies: “embodied white allies workshop” and
  3. for all bodies: community conversations around cultural appropriation and creating a culture of consent.
  4. for the directors: encouragement and the cost of attending B’Dote tour to understand the history and importance of the Hidden Falls Park site to the Dakota people.

Safety: We will continue to advocate so that the city will allow us to find a police-free alternative to keeping BareBones events safe. We have a “safer spaces” committee devoted to helping the BareBones community be welcoming to all who feel called to join and to helping with conflicts as they arise.

Permissions: We recognize that Hidden Falls is close to B’Dote, the confluence of the rivers and the Dakota holy site. We will take this bridge-year, when we are not yet going back to Hidden Falls Park, to continue learning more about that long history and deepening and healing our relationships with the land and people.

We hope you will join us to make BareBones 2021 what this community needs it to be.