The Loisaida Center is proud to announce

2017 Artists in Residence:


Daniel Polnau, Pablo Varona, and Adam Ende

May, 2017


The objective was to commission three masters in the arts of street theater to develop and implement a free month-long intensive collaborative atelier of parade-making and pageant techniques to kick off the 2017 Loisaida Festival on its 30th anniversary. The objectives of the artists are to help develop and enrich the amazing outdoor street-theater puppet-pageant that follows the Loisaida Festival as part of the theater Lab inside La Plaza Cultural, paying homage to the legacy of Latino community builders from the Young Lords forward in celebration of all lives that make this neighborhood great while hosting community workshops focusing on giant puppet, mask, and parade costume making and adding a new contingent to the opening carnival procession of the Loisaida Festival, an exuberant celebration of Caribbean solidarity, drawing inspiration from the resilient, creative spirit of looking backwards and forwards. Together, they want to create a recognition of all the lives of those who enriched Loisaida along with those who continue to enrich it today.


Daniel Polnau, Pablo Varona, and Adam Ende, whose bios are linked below, are three veteran puppeteers and distinct street artists with extensive US and international experience coming together in Loisaida to engage our surrounding community in an exploration of what is possible with humble and accessible materials. They will offer their skills and mentorship in diverse formats of interactive public art aesthetics, messaging, and celebration.

Completed Project

Tutabanda (Tootophone)

Dates: Thursdays (May 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th), 12:00 pm-3:00pm

Advertisement: Let’s start a musical street band from scratch! Bring out all of your inner musical joy in a band of wonders and learn how to make your own costume, design your own mask, help build a float, build your own musical instruments (with materials sourced from any local hardware store) and collaboratively come up with a choreography. Open to all artists, specially musicians and dancers.

(Recommended for ages 18+)

Cabezudos (Big-Head Puppets)

Dates: Tuesdays (May 9th, 16th, and 23rd) from 12:00pm to 3:00pm

Advertisement: This workshop we will celebrate local history by creating an ensemble of big head masks– portraits of the important artists, activists and gardeners who shaped the neighborhood, such as Bimbo Rivas, Carmen Pabón, Tato Laviera, Armando Pérez, and Jorge Brandon aka “El Coco que Habla”, among others. Participants will learn sculpture techniques with clay, cardboard, and other materials, the finer points of “paper mâché”, and painting skills. No prior experience necessary– all participants will discover that they have the innate skills to make beautiful portraits and caricatures. Included in the workshop will be mask movement and performance, so you will not only make a head, but learn how to embody it.The creations will be part of the 30th Anniversary edition of the Loisaida Festival’s opening Parade and its Theater Lab.

(Recommended for ages 13 – Adults. No unaccompanied minors were allowed.)

Giant Tiger and Jaguar Puppets:

Dates: Wednesdays (May 10th, 17th, and 24th) from 12:00pm to 3:00pm

Advertistment: Open to anyone who wants to make wearable-danceable- carry able art and help create. Join our team of guest artists and local luminaries in a highly collaborative and experimental open studio where we spin straw into gold! All levels of experience–from the curious to fluent! Families, adults, teens, individuals, and organizations welcome. See your dreams come to life when we bring our creations to the street in a spectacular parade that celebrates the spirit of Loisaida past, present and future!

(Recommended for ages 6+. No unaccompanied minors were allowed.)

Open Community Workshops

Dates: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (May 5th, 6th, 7th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th, and 21) from 12:00pm to 6:00pm

Advertisement: The Loisaida Festival Parade & Pageant counts with workshop space to build anything related to the parade. Any individual or group that would like to use our space, can come in on the Open Community Workshops. If you reach us beforehand, we could also reserve a space in the workshop and help with your designs and craft.dPlease note: The parade is on the 28, May 2017, it starts at 10am and finishes at 12pm. We are asking all parade volunteers to be there, at least, two hours before (~8am) the parade starts and to anyone else that is parading with us, at least one hour before (~9am).

(Recommended for ages 6+Adults. No unaccompanied minors were allowed.)

Individual Profiles

Daniel Polnau – An artist, puppeteer, director of Tiny Town artists’ collective, and Stromboli’s Medicine Show, Daniel Polnau has created puppet parades, circuses, and outdoor theater spectacles for over 30 years. He specializes in creating larger than life puppets out of recycled junk and up-cycled materials making the mundane become extraordinary. At the heart of each highly collaborative project, he strives to demystify the creative process, and quicken the innate creative abilities in all, regardless of age, abilities, or arts experience. His projects and residencies have spanned the globe from Moscow, Bali, Alaska and Puerto Rico.

Pablo Varona – An artist, puppeteer, and resident of Casa Múcaro in Las Marías, Puerto Rico, Pablo Varona spends most his time living close to the forested mountaintops of Puerto Rico as the artist liaison of Casa Múcaro, Las Marías. He is amazed by the immeasurable value that the reuse, recycling and/or “forgotten” objects do when it comes to the transformation of urban contexts. His interests revolve around making these issues relevant and accessible to the general audience. Lead artist at Honey for the Heart Parade, Athens, OH, 2015 and Art Director of Loisaida Festival Parade 2016.

Adam Ende – As an artist, puppeteer, founder and director of Jawbone Puppet theatre, and both the artistic and managing director of the Islewilde performance festival, Ende has more than 20 years of extensive experience directing puppet shows, parades and festivals around the US and Taiwan, as well as writing shows, building puppets, performing, and leading workshops in puppet making and performance. His particular specialty is making portraits in puppet.

Archived Post from the Artist

  1. Join the amazing outdoor street-theatre puppet-pageant that follows as part of the Theater Lab inside La Plaza Cultural!  Be part of this homage to the legacy of Latino community builders from the Young Lords forward in celebration of all lives that make this neighborhood alive.
  1. Join our Giant Puppet making community workshops Learn how to create masks! Parade costumes! Larger-than-life Puppets!
  1. A new contingent will be added to the opening Carnival Procession (Parade) of the Loisaida Festival. An exuberant celebration of Caribbean solidarity, drawing inspiration from thee resilient creative spirit of looking backwards and forwards: a recognition of all the lives of those that made this neighborhood alive, with those that are present today.