The International Festival of Arts and Ideas High School Fellowship Program offers qualified New Haven public school sophomores and juniors a unique, fully funded opportunity to learn about the arts. The semester-long college-level course is designed to develop students’ skills in communication and critical thinking by immersing them in all aspects of the Festival, including performances, lectures, community engagement, production, and management.
This year's 2020 Fellows cohort combined the Festival theme of democracy with some ideas from the NEA Big Read book, Advice From the Lights by Stephanie Burt, the global climate of vocal social justice, and their own personal relations and experiences to social justice issues. From their experiences with visiting artists, community interactions and class-wide discussions with their instructors, they began to understand more of how the arts are a weapon of social justice. Using their newfound filmmaking and song making skills and the confinements of distance learning, our Fellows began to shape their voices to stand up as budding artist-activists. Using their collective voice our Fellows produced their final virtual town hall project for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas on topics ranging from youth empowerment, dual identity, cultural representation, body positivity, feminism, racism & immigration