2020 Arts & Ideas in the News

Virtual Festival Highlights

This year’s Festival is very different from any we’ve done before. This isn’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!

“In an arts season marked by cancellations, postponements and uncertainty, three summer arts festivals in Connecticut have distinguished themselves by announcing that their shows will go on....They have found ways to serve artists, audiences and their core artistic missions during socially distant times.”

Hartford Courant, May 14: "Connecticut Summer Theater Festivals Reinvent Themselves"

"From GoPro biking tours to performances broadcast in assisted living homes to Zoom cooking classes with food kits from local restaurants replacing the food bazaars and tastings of past festivals, Arts & Ideas is finding alternate ways to bring people together."

American Theatre, May 15: "Summer Breaks: How Arts Festivals Are Coping With Cancellation"

"Look at the bright side of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas being forced to wipe out its live events in the 2020 coronavirus crisis: There is an early start to the stimulating Ideas portion of the schedule....with a worthy theme of 'Democracy: We the People.'"

New Haven Register, May 8: "Arts & Ideas (Minus the Live Arts) Gets Rolling with Heady Online Forums"

"Entitled Democracy: We the People, the 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."

Broadway World, May 6: " International Festival of Arts & Ideas Announces DEMOCRACY: WE THE PEOPLE"

"The festival pivoted. Instead of canceling or postponing its 25th anniversary season, Griggs and Fisher refocused their attention on digital space and the local artists, thinkers, and doers who could operate in it. They talked about how they could use an arts festival, which is often billed as an economic driver for the city, to support small businesses and local restaurants even if their doors spaces weren't open. They envisioned how a body can move on a walking tour through the city, even if it's all alone."

April 14, New Haven Arts: "Arts & Ideas Goes Virtual"

More Press

July 21, The Daily Nutmeg: "Hot Spots"

"Schloss participated in the Arts on Call portion of this year’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas and had been slated to back up several performers at the festival, which is a cosponsor of Summer Saturdays. Saturday’s gig seemed to give him a lift. 'I’ve actually been surprised how many people are willing to come out and listen,' he said. 'I think it’s ’cause… there’s such a hunger for seeing live stuff… It feels really nice just being out here and playing.'"

June 22, New Haven Independent: "In Juneteenth Drum Class, The Music Is Practice for Life"

"We are in a political moment where many white people, myself included, are asking how we can help and support our Black friends and Black people. Jawara’s class asked me to approach the music as a student, no matter what I thought I may already have known."

June 19: New Haven Register: "Live & Online Events for Week of June 21"

"International Festival of Arts & Ideas virtual programming entitled “Democracy: We the People” will continue through June 26. “On Being Good: A Conversation with The Good Place Philosophers,” June 26, 7 p.m. Live-streamed content available. Additional programming to be announced. For the kids, Festival Coloring Pages. artidea.org"

June 15: New Haven Arts: "Film Stylo Turns the Lens on Intercultural Empathy"

"Hung paired videos by prompt: one New Haven and one Hong Kong take on "My Daily Routine," "My Homeschooling Experience," and "How I Stay Active at Home." Although filmmaking pairs were a literal ocean apart, separated by culture and circumstance, the event's moderators and livestream viewers marveled at the adolescents' emotional synchrony."

June 15: New Haven Independent: "No Suburban Rezoning––No Justice!"

'“That’s as unwelcoming as can be,” Smith said about “character preservation” arguments against denser development. Considering the long history of redlining, white flight, and racially segregated suburban development in this state and country, she said “character preservation” is analogous in her mind to someone saying, “I want to keep it as white as we can.”'    

June 12: Calendar of Online, Live Events for Week of June 14

June 11, WNPR: "Performing Art in the Pandemic"

The pandemic took its toll on Connecticut’s creative sector, especially performing artists. Safe social distancing meant closed theaters and music venues, and an end to live performances. But many artists decided to take their talents online, in the virtual world. 

June 11, New Haven Arts: "Indigenous Theater Imagines Forward"

"One by one, panelists outlined a vision of theater that centers Native voices both onstage and off, in which artists and makers are no longer beholden to the desires of white bodies in white seats at white-led institutions. The push forward joins a wider movement to center Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) voices in American theater, and to move away from a colonialist, white supremacist narrative that has dominated stages for hundreds of years."

June 11, New Haven Independent: "Cafe Take: Constitutional Interpretations Pave Way for Brutality"

"Over 75 participants tuned in to the hour-long conversation, more than double the turnout of last week’s cafe. Though scheduled in advance, the event gained timely relevance given the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Yankah, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law, explained how legislation has systematically supported police brutality, especially towards black people. “The scandal is not what’s illegal. The scandal is what’s legal,” he quipped."

June 10, Hartford Courant: "Connecticut’s LGBTQ Pride Month Celebrations Go Online"

June 8, New Haven Independent: "Sanctuary City Brings Homs Home"

"Our vision is to enhance the culinary skills of refugees and immigrants in a supportive environment that honors story and diverse cultural traditions, fosters community and understanding, offers professional development, and generates economic success in the most delicious way possible.” Judging by the outcomes of the food we made in our kitchen and the comments from other participants, with this class Sanctuary Kitchen succeeded on all fronts."

June 5, The Politic: "The Little Festival That Could"

"As its name suggests, the Festival aims to marry creative expression (arts) with a symposium on the state of society (ideas). This year, their theme is “Democracy: We the People.” Despite the transition online, neither mission nor theme has changed. “We never talked about stopping. It never came up,” Aleta Staton, the Community Engagement Manager, told The Politic."

June 4: New Haven Register: "Connecticut Online Arts Now & in the Coming Days"

June 4, New Haven Independent: '“Messy” Powers Question Intentional'

"The original plan was to hold these sessions at local coffeehouses, with citizens and experts reexamining the constitution in the context of modern-day America. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic. That moved the events online.It also gave Wednesday’s event an immediate real-world context: How officials at different levels of government responded to the pandemic."

June 2, New Haven Register: "CT theaters pledge to increase anti-racism efforts in wake of killings"

'The International Festival of Arts & Ideas also issued a statement on Twitter that “Black lives matter at all times. Police violence is unacceptable, and silence in the face of injustice is intolerable.”

Festival officials said they stand in solidarity with communities “targeted and abused by an unjust system” and “We will do everything we can to help dismantle systemic racism.”'

May 28, Hartford Courant: "International Festival of Arts & Ideas finds a new executive director to guide key transition"

"A nationwide search returned Quiala, who comes from Minnesota’s Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, where she has held several positions over the past 17 years, most recently vice president in programming, education and community engagement."

May 27, New Haven Biz: "Arts & Ideas names new director for 2021 event"

"The idea was born earlier this year, as the festival moved its programming online. For years, it has offered food tours, from Grand Avenue gastronomy to dinners on the Woodbridge farm of Miya’s Sushi chef Bun Lai. As it became clear that those could not take place in physical space, Tours Program Manager Denise Santisteban pitched restaurants on a different model: food kits that attendees could pick up and take home, then prepare with virtual instruction and hundreds of other New Haveners."

May 25, News 8: "Hamden Residents Jam Out to Surprise Caribbean Band Visit"

"The steel drum band was supposed to play in the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven this summer but because of the pandemic, the festival is going virtual.

They’ve added a new feature on their website that allows people to hire different groups to put on a socially distanced arts performance!"

May 25, New Haven Arts: "Compagnia de’ Colombari Conjures Whitman in Quarantine"

"The excerpt came from More or Less I Am, a multimedia performance piece from Compagnia de’ Colombari  inspired by Walt Whitman’s American epic “Song of Myself.” This and next month, it is part of the 25th annual International Festival of Arts & Ideas, which has gone entirely virtual due to COVID-19."

May 22, Daily Nutmeg: "Sense of Occasion"

"What has emerged is a new and different festival—one that began as a trickle back in April, swelled in May and is set to cascade into the festival’s traditional timeframe of June. Event proceeds are going straight to the artists and presenters. The festival, Asher says, is “just the conduit in administering those programs.”'

May 22, New Haven Register: "Arts & Ideas Fest names Minnesota’s Shelley Quiala executive director"

'“New Haven,” said Quiala, “is filled with a spectrum of diversity and creativity and is rich with opportunities to co-create new pathways forward. I am thrilled to be able to build on the festival’s extraordinary foundation with a talented staff, vibrant community, and visionary board of directors.”'

May 21, New Haven Arts: "Sanctuary Kitchen Keeps Cooking for Curbside"

"In March, the kitchen quickly pivoted to a new curbside pick-up system and implemented new regulations from both ServSafe and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With biweekly pickup, it launched a virtual supper club that takes place each Friday. The group will also be working with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas for a virtual cooking class in early June."

May 21, Broadway World: "Shelley Quiala Named Executive Director of International Arts & Ideas"

'"The Festival already has exceeded even the wildest dreams Anne Calabresi, Jean Handley, and I had when we started it in 1996," said Co-Founder Roslyn Meyer. "I couldn't be more delighted to welcome Shelley Quiala to lead us into our next quarter century of thrilling art and visionary ideas here in New Haven."'

May 19, New Haven Arts: "Ordinary Kicks Off Virtual Cocktail Season"

"Cabral is the co-owner of Ordinary New Haven, a tavern and cocktail bar nestled on Chapel Street downtown. Szapiro is the owner and executive chef at ROÌA, a French-Italian restaurant just around the corner on College Street. Friday, the two dipped into the world of virtual food programming with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, which has moved all of its events online in the midst of COVID-19."

May 18, New Haven Independent: "A&I Brings the Musicians to the People"

'“Is it summer?” Jungden said, noting the warm weather. Someone requested “Summertime.” Behind her, on the street, passersby in masks loitered to listen.

“I’m amazed at how short a 15-minute concert is,” Jungden said, “but we have time for several more.” As before, the audience, now numbering over a dozen, stayed until the end, filling the courtyard with applause at the end of each song.

“Great idea,” said one of the listeners at the end of the show."'

May 18, Broadway World: "International Festival of Arts & Ideas Announces Artistic Programming"

"The artistic programming of the 2020 International Festival of Arts & Ideas is underway and will continue through the month of June. The lineup includes More or Less I Am, created by Compagnia de' Colombari; Activist Songbook, created by composer Byron Au Yong and lyricist Aaron Jafferis; and Let's Make a Dance, created by Keigwin + Company."

May 15, New Haven Register: "Online arts/culture events in the week ahead from Milford to Old Lyme"

May 14, New Haven Register: "Arts & Ideas Festival gets personal with pair of melodic/tasty offerings"

May 14, Hartford Courant: "International Festival of Arts & Ideas goes online, starts now"

May 13, New Haven Arts: "Arts & Ideas Gets an Activist Soundtrack"

'“We Will Break Free” is the latest song featured in the Activist Songbook, an evolving project from activist-artists Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis and organizers in the Bay Area, Philadelphia, and most recently New Haven. Tuesday night, the two joined artists Melissa Li, Kit Yan, and Paul Bryant Hudson for “Songwriting as Radical Imagination,” the first ideas event in the 25th annual International Festival of Arts & Ideas.'

May 11, Broadway World: "Arts on Call and KeyBank Food: The Latest from the International Festival of Arts & Ideas"

'"In light of the devastating effect of the pandemic on New Haven's arts and small business ecologies, the Festival is committed to supporting our friends and neighbors in every way we can," said Co-Directors Liz Fisher and Tom Griggs. "New Haven Arts on Call and the KeyBank Food series are two ways the Festival is connecting our community directly with artists and small business owners, following approved socially distant guidelines."'

May 10, For the People/Connoisseur Media: "Bobby Asher interview with John Voket"

"And we'll close touting the virtual 25th Annual International Festival of Arts & Ideas - bringing you artistic exhibits, food experiences, cell phone-guided walking tours, the NEA Big Read, and Ideas programming with a theme of 'Democracy: We the People' all free and online."

May 10, Hartford Courant: "Festival included in Chris Arnott’s feature story about how summer festivals are proceeding this year"

May 8, New Haven Register: "Joe Amarante’s coverage of the Democracy: We the People programming announcement"

"While you can’t see them in person, you can attend them safely via computer, and the presentations are interactive as they “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,” according to an A&I release."

May 6, Broadway World: "Coverage of our Democracy: We the People announcement"

"Entitled Democracy: We the People, the 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."

April 17, New Haven Register: "Yale drama students making masks; more British art online & other briefs"

"One of the few hopeful parts of the announcement that live events of this year’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas are canceled in June (and replaced by a smaller, rolling online effort) is that the organization is holding back some money to put on a big Green concert in late July or August if things improve."

April 14, New Haven Register: "New Haven Arts & Ideas Fest cuts live events for online; $9.2M impact"

February 20, Yale News: "At college tea, Takei urges social justice and civic engagement"

"Actor and activist George Takei — best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu on “Star Trek” — accepted an award Feb. 19 for his social justice work at the 10th Annual Visionary Leadership Award Luncheon. Afterward, he spoke at a Pauli Murray College tea about his experience in a World War II U.S. internment camp for Japanese Americans."

February 19, New Haven Register: Arnie Gold’s photo of George Takei receiving VLA on the front page of the Local section

February 14, New Haven Register: "Takei still setting the course as ‘visionary’ honoree of Arts & Ideas"

February 14, Hartford Courant: "George Takei, receiving an award from Arts & Ideas, talks about his acting, his writing and his activism"

"Though he hadn’t heard of the Arts & Ideas festival before it reached out to him about the award, Takei did some research into the organization and was impressed. 'I consider it a real honor, especially when I learned that I was to be the first male recipient of the award. Ideas and the arts are areas that have always been a part of my life.'"

February 14, Yale News: "Actor and activist George Takei to talk about childhood in internment camp"

"Earlier that day, Takei will address guests at the 10th Annual Visionary Leadership Award Luncheon, hosted by the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, where he will be honored for his social justice work and achievements spanning over six decades."

January 22, New Haven Arts: Lucy Gellman’s coverage of the Festival’s community meetings in advance on the Democracy Ideas programs

"at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas’ “Ideas” programming this summer. The choice to democratize the process comes as the festival dedicates its 25th anniversary to “Democracy: We The People.”

January 21, Hartford Magazine (February issue): Frank Rizzo’s interview with George Takei 

"On Feb. 18 New Haven’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas will present Takei with its annual Visionary Leadership Award at the Omni New Haven Hotel. The award is presented 'to a leader whose trailblazing work is impacting the world.'"

January 20, Connecticut Magazine (February issue): Frank Rizzo’s interview with George Takei

"Since Trump ascended to the White House, Takei has gained even greater fame as a social activist, particularly for LGBTQ causes. He will receive New Haven’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas’ annual Visionary Leadership Award at a luncheon on Feb. 18 at the Omni New Haven Hotel." 

January 15, Hartford Courant: Susan Dunne’s coverage of the NEA grants

January 14, Zip06.com: Festival included in a story about local volunteer opportunities 

December 4, Daily Nutmeg: Kathy Czepiel’s feature story about Activist Songbook workshop

"The point of the workshop, part of an ongoing series dubbed Activist Songbook, was not to create a performance for an audience but rather to help activists find their voices, literally, and put them to work for social good." 

November 21, New Haven Arts: Lucy Gellman’s coverage of Liz and Tom’s retirement announcement

"'On behalf of Board members, past and present, we thank Liz and Tom for their remarkable leadership,' said A & I Board Chair Gordon Geballe in a press release sent Wednesday. 'Individually and together, their tenures have been marked by keen intelligence, infectious joyfulness, and an extraordinary commitment to delivering the best Festival experience possible year after year for artists and audiences alike.'"

November 20, Broadway World: Announcement of Liz and Tom’s retirement

"'Tom and I are at similar stages in our lives and professional careers, and we have been very open with each other as we have considered the next chapters of our lives,' said Liz Fisher. 'When we both realized we were getting ready to retire, it felt right for us as partners and for the Festival itself to plan to hand off leadership together.'"

November 8, TrekToday: Takei VLA pickup from Broadway World placement

“'We are honored to present our 2020 Visionary Leadership Award to George Takei,' said Festival Co-Directors Liz Fisher and Tom Griggs. 'With a career well into its sixth decade, he shows no sign of slowing down. His remarkable and varied contributions to our American popular culture are surpassed only by his passionate advocacy to improve the lives of his fellow citizens.'" 

November 7, Hartford Courant: Chris Arnott’s announcement of Takei VLA  

November 7, Broadway World: Takei VLA announcement

"George Takei is a social justice activist, social media superstar, Grammy-nominated recording artist, New York Timesbestselling author, and pioneering actor whose career has spanned six decades. He has appeared in more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television roles, most famously as Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, and has used his success as a platform to fight for social justice, LGBTQ rights, and marriage equality." 

October 9, WNPR: News segment about Let’s Make a Dance

"A modern dance group is holding a series of free workshops in New Haven this weekend. The workshops are for tailored anyone who wants to dance, regardless of age or experience. The end result will be a performance at next year's International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven."

September 24, New Haven Arts: Lucy Gellman’s coverage of Let’s Make a Dance

"...Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott, co-founders of the New York-based modern dance outfit Keigwin + Company. In advance of the 25th annual Festival of Arts & Ideas, the two are holding a series of “Let’s Make A Dance!” community workshops in New Haven, open to dancers, non-dancers, and newly-christened dancers of all skill levels. Next year, they plan to integrate community members into a performance at the festival, the title of which is still in the works."

September 10, Yale Daily News: News story about Bobby Asher’s appointment

"Asher was already familiar with the Festival because he had visited the Festival twice in recent years, including this past June, to meet with other arts presenters and creatives, Griggs said. The Co-Directors reached out to him for a conversation when the position opened because of that familiarity and his connection to Herzog. Asher said he was 'immediately struck with the energy and potential of the organization.'” 

September 6, New Haven Register: News coverage of Bobby Asher’s appointment

“'Bobby Asher immediately impressed us with his creativity, wide-ranging expertise, and passion for the arts,' said festival Co-Directors Liz Fisher and Tom Griggs. 'He’s known for leading innovative projects that are as exhilarating as they are challenging and that draw diverse voices into conversation about critical contemporary issues.'” 

September 5, New Haven Arts: Lucy Gellman’s coverage of Bobby Asher’s appointment

"'The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is an incredible expression of the creativity and knowledge that exists in this vibrant city, and I look forward to the work of bringing together many voices from all parts of our community to create a Festival that connects us to the world, and also celebrates and fosters understanding of the human experience right here at home.'” 

September 5, Broadway World: Bobby Asher appointment announcement

"Originally from Oklahoma, Bobby Asher most recently served as Director of Programming at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, where he curated the Visiting Artist Series and helped envision, implement, develop, and sustain several new arts initiatives, including the NextNOW Fest, an annual student-focused festival, and programming at MilkBoy ArtHouse, a restaurant, performance venue, and gallery space in downtown College Park. He also served as the Founding Managing and Artistic Director of the Bailey Performance Center at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta, as well as in other arts management positions in Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Georgia."