Allen Yee and Jeffrey Blake

Jeffrey Blake assumes leadership of the Board of Directors and Advisors at the Center for Puppetry Arts

ATLANTA (September 13, 2023) – The Center for Puppetry Arts is pleased to announce Atlanta attorney Jeffrey Blake as the new Chair of its Board of Directors and Advisors. Blake, a partner at Merchant & Gould, PC specializing in intellectual property law, brings a wealth of professional experience and dedication to the Center’s mission.

A prominent figure in the legal community, Blake has been recognized by his peers with accolades such as inclusion in Georgia Super Lawyers (2016-2017), The Best Lawyers in America (2019-2023), and IP Stars by Managing IP (2013-2021). A native of Mobile, Alabama, Blake is an alumnus of the University of Alabama and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Blake has been an integral part of the Center’s leadership since 2017, serving in various roles of increasing responsibility on the Board. He and his wife, Vanessa Blake, served as Chairs of the Center’s annual String Fling Gala in 2018, raising an impressive $250,000 to support the Center’s mission. The Blakes currently reside in Peachtree City with their two sons.

Executive Director Beth Schiavo expressed her enthusiasm saying, “We are delighted to have Jeff as our new Board Chair. He’s been a great partner and a true leader on our board – helping with everything from strategic planning to fundraising to handing out Halloween treats at our annual Monster Mash event. He never says ‘no’ when something needs to be done. Jeff’s experience and dedication are a huge asset to the organization. It’s no accident the Board places its confidence in him to be their next leader. We are very fortunate to have Jeff and Vanessa as part of the Center family.”

Blake takes over the role of Chair from Allen Yee, General Counsel of Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Company, who has served on the Board since 2012 and as Chair since 2016. A committed community volunteer and advocate, Yee also serves the boards of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta Ballet, and the University of Georgia School of Law. Yee will assume the role of Immediate Past Chair.

Expressing his gratitude for Yee’s years of service, Blake stated, “We are thankful for Allen’s seven years of service as Chair. He led us through a critical time that saw the retirement of Founder and long-time Executive Director Vincent Anthony, the recruitment and hiring of our talented new Executive Director, and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and reopening. Allen navigated us through that time with decisiveness, confidence, and calm. Today, the Center for Puppetry Arts is stronger than ever thanks to Allen’s leadership. I’m proud to call him a friend and grateful he will continue to serve as an advisor to our organization.”

Center for Puppetry Arts® is a unique cultural treasure – a magical place where children and adults are educated, enlightened, and entertained. Since 1978, the Center has introduced millions of visitors to the wonder and art of puppetry and has touched the lives of many through enchanting performances, curriculum-based workshops, and the hands-on Museum as well as Digital Learning and Outreach programs. Center for Puppetry Arts is a non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization and is supported in part by contributions from corporations, foundations, government agencies, and individuals. Major funding is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. These programs are also supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. GCA is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Center is a member of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA/USA/ASSITEJ). The Center also serves as the headquarters of UNIMA-USA, the American branch of Union Internationale de la Marionnette, the international puppetry organization.

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