RADF Grant to Assist Local Puppeteer Louis Johnson

RADF Presentation
From left, Council RADF Chair Councillor Phil Barwick, local puppeteer Louis Johnson, and Mayor Danielle Slade with some of Louis’s Reloveolution puppets.

Published: 13th May 2020

Popular local puppeteer Louis Johnson will be adding even more puppets to his collection to help spread messages about the importance of kindness, respect, sharing and self-expression to local children, thanks to a $6000 grant from Round 2 of Council’s Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF).

Louis was presented with his funding at a presentation with Mayor Danielle Slade and Council RADF Chair Councillor Phil Barwick earlier this week.

Louis said he plans to continue building and complete several of the puppets designed through his company, Reloveolution, which aims to create intelligent, non-intrusive social engagement with youth, particularly Indigenous youth, through puppetry.

“We want to talk about the issues that young people, especially Indigenous youth, face today, such as bullying, self-acceptance, self-expression, gender identity and creativity,” Louis said.

“We want to be a bridge to help bring about change in young people’s lives.”

Louis, also known in the region as “Uncle Louie”, is best-known for his much-loved puppet, Dr Kevin, who has made appearances at events and schools across the North West and teaches children why it’s important to be kind to others.

Dr Kevin will be joined by the likes of flower Daisy Dew, who talks about the importance of protecting nature; Baba Jojo, an elderly scientist with prosthetic legs who discusses accepting people with differences; and Ben Jahmin, a Jamaican green tree frog that Louis is intending to transform into a tabletop puppet that plays Indigenous and non-Indigenous music.

Cr Barwick said the RADF committee is excited to fund Louis’s project.

“The puppetry skills of Louis Johnson are well known at Mount Isa events and this grant will further develop the acts and entertainment for children and families,” Cr Barwick said.

“The puppets will be ready for when the city is once again holding our great range of community events, hopefully later this year and into 2021.”

Round 3 of Council’s Regional Arts Development Fund will be opening on Monday, May 18, with applications to close on Wednesday, June 17, for projects beginning on June 18.

The projects should be able to meet COVID-19 rules – for example, online training, a mural, sculpture, recycled art piece, or paintings that don’t breach restrictions on the number of people allowed in a gathering.

Cr Slade said one of the reasons the Regional Arts Development Fund is so important is that many of the projects it helps to make a reality often engage with Mount Isa youth.

“It’s wonderful to see this particular grant proceed and I congratulate Louis and Reloveolution for being awarded this grant,” Cr Slade said.

The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Mount Isa City Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

For more information, please call Council’s RADF Liaison Officer on 4747 3200 or email radf@mountisa.qld.gov.au