2020 - "The Little Festival That Could"

Our Festival has a life past June, with virtual events that are still available for you to view and participate in. For the first time, you can catch up on events you may have missed when they were live. Learn from the experts on the Ideas event panels, binge-watch More Or Less I Am and the Activist Songbook Virtual Choirs, dance along to the energetic Neighborhood festivals, explore New Haven (virtually or in person) with our walking and biking tours- and more! 

This year's virtual festival wasn’t the 25th anniversary we imagined, but we are extremely proud of the virtual and physically distanced program that we re-imagined to virtually embrace our audience, artists, and community, and to deliver, in a new way, all the things you know and love about the Festival. And the press agrees!

 see what the press has to say about Festival 2020.


Ideas Series: Democracy, We the People

These interactive events and conversations bring together vital thinkers and doers to address and engage with national and international issues through the microcosm of the culturally rich, diverse, and complex communities of New Haven.

Constitution Cafe: The Role of Government During Pandemic, June 3

Mayor Justin Elicker, facilitator Eric Rey, your neighbors, and local experts engage in a community dialogue about the role of the government in a pandemic.

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Constitution Cafe: The Constitutional Limits of the Police Use of Force, June 10

Join Ekow Yankah, law professor at Cardozo School of Law; freedom fighter Kerry Ellington; facilitator Eric Rey, your neighbors, and local experts in a series of community dialogues the constitutional limits of the police use of force.

watch video

Constitution Cafe: The Importance of the Census, June 17

Join Gabriel "Jack" Chin, Edward L. Barrett Jr. Chair of Law, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law, and Director of Clinical Legal Education, your neighbors, and local experts in a community dialogue about the importance of the census.

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Constitution Cafe: Constitution & Mass Incarceration, June 24

Presented in partnership with ACLU Connecticut

Join your neighbors and local experts in a series of community dialogues around daily issues that intersect with The Constitution.

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Songwriting as Radical Imagination: An Activist Songbook Discussion

Joined by Activist Songbook Composer Byron Au Yong and Lyricist Aaron Jafferis, a panel of artists/activists will discuss music and its role in activism and democracy.

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Stephanie Burt in Conversation

Part of the NEA Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest

Poet Stephanie Burt discusses her book Advice From The Lights, an essential work that asks who we are, how we become ourselves, and why we make art.

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Wealth in Our Democracy: Anand Giridharadas in Conversation

A conversation about income inequality in the U.S. with Anand Giridharadas, author of Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.

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The Role of Artists in Democracy

The 2012 Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco is joined by four-time Grammy Award winner Angélique Kidjo, Lakota playwright Larissa FastHorse, and Founder of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC Katy Rubin who reflect on their roles as mediators and responders.

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Democracy, Pandemic, and How We Move Forward

Former Connecticut Secretary of State Miles Rapoport moderates a conversation with political commentator and author Heather McGhee, political activist and CEO of Voto Latino María Teresa Kumar, and political scholar Archon Fung.

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Democracy, Refugees, and Asylum

Presented in partnership with IRIS-Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services

Historian Quan Tran, sociologist Jasmina Besirevic-Regan, and Nour Al Zouabi, a Syrian refugee, share their personal stories and professional perspectives on borders, migration, and democracy.

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Stories, Sovereignty, and Imagining Forward

A conversation with Native American artists and leaders who offer their perspective on issues of sovereignty, ancestry, and post-pandemic survival, organized in partnership with theater director Madeline Sayet.

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Who is Essential? Race, Culture, and Identity in American Democracy

Presented In partnership with The CT Mirror

John Dankosky invites Khalilah Brown-Dean, Political Science Professor at Quinnipiac University, and others to reflect on identity politics at this disorienting time when a new identity has emerged in our society: “essential.”

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Slavery & The American Story

Presented In partnership with The Narrative Project

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, talks with the host of The Center For Investigative Reporting’s Reveal podcast, Al Letson, and founder of The Narrative Project, Mercy Quaye, with a special performance by New Haven musician Paul Bryant Hudson.

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On Being Good: A Conversation with The Good Place Philosophers

Philosophers Pamela Hieronymi and Todd May, who served as philosophy advisors on the acclaimed television comedy, The Good Place, explore the nature of goodness and its role in society, especially poignant against the backdrop of the current public health crisis.

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Housing as a Human Right? Tackling Challenges of Affordability and Discrimination

John Dankosky moderates this talk exploring the intersection of housing and democracy with Connecticut experts, including Karen DuBois Walton of the Elm City Communities/Housing Authority of the City of New Haven, Jacqueline Rabe Thomas of the Connecticut Mirror, and Alexis Highsmith Smith of New Haven Legal Aid.

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Shaping Our Voices Into Movements, Action and Allyship

An Activist Songbook Discussion

Join the Activist Songbook team as fellow artists and activists discuss how we can raise our voices to become agents for social change and what People of the Global Majority (PGM) allyship looks like.

watch video

Voter Rights Workshop, June 18

Presented in partnership with Civic Impact Lab, Mothers & Others for Justice, The Urban League of Southern Connecticut

Learn how structural racism shapes our voting system, imagine how a just and equitable alternative should work, and discuss how we as individuals and institutions can create a voting system rooted in shared liberation.

more info


Neighborhood Festivals

Neighborhood Festivals have been always been a way to celebrate local artists and communities and bring people together. New Haven artists from Hill and Dixwell are featured in these hour long concerts, available for you to dance along to. 

Virtual Neighborhood Celebration: Dixwell, June 21

This 60-minute virtual concert hosted by Diane Brown and Aleta Staton features music from Chris Big Dog Davis, Rohn Lawrence, and Rahsaan Langley.

Virtual Neighborhood Celebration: The Hill

This 60-minute virtual concert, hosted by Martha Dye and Brian Sams, features music from two popular performers: Manny James and Aleecya Foreman.

 


Tours

Get to know the ins and outs of New Haven better, with biking and walking tours. Our tour videos allow you to take a virtual tour or use the maps to get outside and see the sights in person!

Bike Tour: East Coast Greenway North

presented in partnership with Elm City Cycling

Hop on your stationary bike and travel north from New Haven to Cheshire and learn about plans to connect the former rail trail to Northampton, Mass, then visit historic Locks 12 and 14 along with our bike tour partners Elm City Cycling.

MORE INFO

Or click on the link below for a map of the ride that you can enjoy on your own.

MAP

Bike Tour: Gather New Haven

presented in partnership with Elm City Cycling

Step away from Zoom and hop onto your stationary bike to explore Gather New Haven's farms, gardens, and preserves.

more info

Or click on the link below for a map of the ride that you can enjoy on your own.

map

 

Bike Tour: Water, Water Everywhere

presented in partnership with Elm City Cycling

Hop on your stationary bike and explore New Haven's rich and varied water resources, its rivers, estuaries and harbor. Learn about the ways we enjoy and protect these fragile assets in a time of climate change and increasing ecological awareness.

more info

Or click on the link below for a map of the ride that you can enjoy on your own.

MAP

Bike Tour: Shoreline Greenway

presented in partnership with Elm City Cycling

Step away from Zoom and hop onto your stationary bike to explore the New Haven Shoreline.

more info

Or click on the link below for a map of the ride that you can enjoy on your own.

map

 

 

 

New Haven's African American, Indigenous, and Latinx History

This map was co-created by students in the African American and Latinx History class at Metropolitan, a local New Haven high school. It includes sites from across the city, spanning hundreds of years, from before European colonization of this land, to the present.

MAP 

New Haven Notables

The Chapel West Special Services district commissioned a series of murals to celebrate 31 New Haven Notables, and the map below is your guide to finding them all. Download the map, set out on a walk, and see if you can spot all 31 murals. 

MAP & GUIDE

Arboretum Tour of the Grove Street Cemetery

This self-guided arboretum tour takes visitors on a 1.3-mile loop around the only arboretum in Greater New Haven to view an impressive selection of 40 plant species, with special highlights in a brochure complete with original leaf drawings from live specimens.

BROCHURE

Shubert Theater Backstage Tour

The Festival has partnered with the Shubert to present a "behind the curtain" look at the historic Shubert theater with a series of Virtual Tours hosted by Kelly Wuzzardo, Director of Education & Outreach Initiatives at the Shubert.

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New Haven Museum Factory Exhibit

In this gallery tour, Jason Bischoff-Wurstle takes us through the history of the massive building that housed avant-garde artists, skateboarders, and a succession of music and adult-entertainment clubs in the decades following the factory’s closure.

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A Joint Bike Tour/Walking Tour of the Pardee-Morris House

presented in partnership with Elm City Cycling & The New Haven Museum

Twilight concerts at the Pardee-Morris House are a summer ritual. This year, Elm City Cycling takes you on a virtual ride from the New Haven Green to this historic home while you enjoy the music of Ed Fast & Congabop, complete with a virtual house tour.

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Storytelling

Get the full experience of Dinner Stories by picking up some of your favorite local food and listen to skilled storytellers. If you want to understand and learn the language of storytelling, check out Matthew Dick's workshop, Speaking Your Truth, with exercises to help you captivate listeners.

Dinner Stories #1

Travel

Sit down to dinner in the comfort of your own home and enjoy three New Haven storytellers sharing stories on the theme of Travel. 

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Dinner Stories #2

New Haven: Why I Came and Why I Stayed

New Haven storytellers share stories on the theme of New Haven - Why I Came and Why I Stayed.

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Dinner Stories #3

Recipes for Love, Food, and Disaster

Join 3 skilled local storytellers as they tell tales of Love, Food and Disaster.

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Speaking Your Truth

First Steps into the Art of Storytelling With Matthew Dicks

Internationally bestselling novelist and 46-time Moth StorySLAM and GrandSLAM champion Matthew Dicks teaches the art of personal storytelling in a low stakes, information packed, highly entertaining workshop designed to meet the needs of people with little or no any previous storytelling experience.

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Activist Songbook

This powerful project is a collaboration created by Aaron Jafferis and Byron Au Young. They interviewed Asian American activists, immigrants and refugees to see what messages they would like a platform for. The project contains 53 songs that highlight messages from the Asian American community, and some were selected to be performed in Virtual Choirs. Check out these Virtual Choirs as well as panels with the members of Activist Songbook, discussing their work and more. 

Virtual Choir #1: "We Will Break Free"

Inspired by Susan Hayase, Tom Izu, Masaru Edmund Nakawatase, and Mike Ishii. By Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis

Based on the true story of Masaru Edmund Nakawatase, this song emerges from the freedom work of Japanese Americans who were born in WWII incarceration, came of age in the Civil Rights Movement, and are fighting to end migrant detention and incarceration today.

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Virtual Choir #2: Survival Is Resistance

Inspired by Kao Kue, Boone Nguyen, and Carol Zou. By Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis

SURVIVAL IS RESISTANCE springs from the words of Philadelphia-based Hmong artist and activist Kao Kue, with additional inspiration from Boone Nguyen and Carol Zou. Their work speaks of the infinitely creative ways individuals, families and peoples survive in the face of oppression, and how culture--especially song--carries life and resistance through generations.

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Virtual Choir #3: There Will be Joy

Inspired by PJ and Roy Hirabayashi By Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis Featuring Ali Ewoldt and Francis Jue

There Will Be Joy is inspired by the words and actions of PJ and Roy Hirabayashi, pioneers of North American taiko and founders of San José Taiko. The song pays tribute to the Asian American activists who inspired PJ and Roy, and celebrates the intersection of movement, liberation and joy that infuses their organizing and their music.

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Virtual Choir #4: We Are Leaders

Inspired by Wei Chen, Mary Yee, and Allison Budschalow By Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis Featuring Jason Chu and Z Bell

We Are Leaders is inspired by Wei Chen and the students of South Philadelphia High School, who took a stand against anti-Asian violence, working with Chinese, Vietnamese, and Black student leaders to create lasting change in the system. By refusing to stay silent, these student leaders demonstrated that every time we come together, we win.
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Virtual Choir #5: This is a Beginning

Prompted by Lily and Vincent Chin, inspired by Helen Zia and other organizers. By Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis. Featuring Christine Toy Johnson and Tobias Wong.

This Is A Beginning is inspired by the work of Lily Chin, who started a movement in response to her son's murder by white Detroit auto workers. Vincent Chin’s murder in June of 1982 was a turning point for the Asian-American community. By refusing to let her son’s death be invisible, Lily Chin sparked a movement that inspired civil rights protests and organizing across the country.

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Songwriting as Radical Imagination: An Activist Songbook Discussion

Joined by Activist Songbook Composer Byron Au Yong and Lyricist Aaron Jafferis, a panel of artists/activists will discuss music and its role in activism and democracy.

WATCH VIDEO

ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT

Activist Songbook Online is an online resource documenting the process and material compiled through the Activist Songbook Project process. Currently consisting of a collection of 11 songs, interviews with organizers, and illustrations, and 100% free, Activist Songbook Online is a toolkit for you in your own drive for social change.


MORE INFO

Shaping Our Voices Into Movements, Action and Allyship

An Activist Songbook Discussion

Join the Activist Songbook team as fellow artists and activists discuss how we can raise our voices to become agents for social change and what People of the Global Majority (PGM) allyship looks like.

watch video


More Or Less I Am

Inspired by Walt Whitman’s revolutionary poem “Song of Myself,” the international collective Compagnia de’ Colombari combines fiddle and flute, dance, sea shanties, opera, and poetry in a declaration of American independence and diversity that invokes the spirit of Whitman’s abiding masterpiece.

More or Less I Am, Episode 1: Journey

Compagnia de' Colombari

Let us proclaim it and walk together.

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More or Less I Am, Episode 2: The City

Compagnia de' Colombari

In our community, we are all citizens, we are one.

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More or Less I Am, Episode 3: Nature + Democracy

Compagnia de' Colombari

I play great marches for conquered and slain persons.

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More or Less I Am, Episode 4: Gratitude

Compagnia de' Colombari

My soul is itself and also everything that the friendly others have given me.
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Yale-China Fellowship

This fellowship provided an opportunity for artists and activists from Hong Kong to have resources from Yale and New Haven. After working on their projects for 6 months, the final versions are available to watch, here. 

Seminar: Exploring the Arts-Sciences Collaboration

Chi-Yung WONG, 2020 HKETONY Arts Activator

Hong Kong artist Chi-Yung WONG will talk about his exploration of the relationship between anxiety, introspection and mindfulness practices.

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Film Stylo: Student Films from the Pandemic - New Haven and Hong Kong

Jeremy Hung, 2020 HKETONY Arts Activator

In this global filmmaking program, students age 13 through 18 from New Haven and Hong Kong have been simultaneously documenting their social distancing experiences through film.

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Her Trajectory

ZENG Hong, 2020 Yale-China Artist Fellow

Comprised of a film and an Internet art piece, Her Trajectory confronts the dominant macro-narrative of history that undermines individuals’ experiences and tends to omit women’s voices.

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Let's Make a Dance

Broadway choreographer Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott, founders of Keigwin and Company taught dances to participants of all levels. They held inclusive workshops and created dances based on the shared experiences.

KeyBank Food Series

For our Food events we paired with amazing local restaurants to have people cook meals at home with ingredients from restaurants and virtual instructions from expert chefs. This provided much needed connection for audiences and all proceeds went directly to the restaurants at a time where they were unable to open to the public.
WATCH VIDEOS:
Syrian Mezze and Dessert Cooking Class

NEA Big Read

The National Endowment for the Arts' initiative "The Big Read," is intended to help spark a joy of reading. The festival selected "Advice From the Lights" as our choice, and also partnered with the New Haven Free Public Library and the New Haven Pride Center to host virtual book reads emphasizing books centering around themes of identity and acceptance.
WATCH VIDEOS:
Stephanie Burt in Conversation
De-Centering Gender and the Politics of Trans Allyship

Virtual Box City

Box City is a wonderful project that gets kids engaged in city building. This year, for the first time, Box City went virtual through Minecraft, allowing families to participate together from home.

Juneteenth

Our Juneteenth Celebrations had it all, music, storytelling, cooking and more and hosted artists from all over the world for a full weekend of events.
WATCH VIDEOS:
Juneteenth Opening Ceremony
Storytelling with Genese Clark
Cooking Class

Arts on Call

Through Arts on Call, community members gifted someone they love with a—socially distanced—arts performance by selecting an artist from the roster to perform at an outdoor location of their choice.