About the International Festival of Arts & Ideas


Imagine New Haven. Imagina un mundo sin fronteras. Imagine music. Imagine theater. Imagine a better world. Imagine yourself—at Festival 2021. Together, we’ll explore the world as it is and how it could be with events ranging from drag to drumming, bike tours to beekeeping, truffle-making to cocktail-tasting. With paddleboard yoga, hair art, fresh takes on Shakespeare, gospel, Grammy winners, and more.

Featuring 200+ events—95% of them free—Festival 2021 has something for everyone. Events will be primarily virtual with some reservation-only in-person programming.


When Anne Calabresi, Jean Handley and Roslyn Meyer founded the Festival in 1996, their aim was to gather world-class artists and thinkers from around the globe, showcasing the city and the state as a major arts destination. Our Mission, as set by our founders, is to create an internationally renowned festival in New Haven of the highest quality with world-class artists, thinkers, and leaders, attracting and engaging a broad and diverse audience celebrating and building community and advancing economic development.

There is a powerful synergy that happens when authors, scientists, and leading innovators are presented alongside outstanding artists. Our founders believed, as we do today, that when great ART and big IDEAS come together, we heighten our ability to understand and imagine. Our Festival was modeled after the great European arts festivals including Edinburgh Festival, which was founded in the ashes of World War II. The underlying goal of our festival and those worldwide is to bring people together to increase international understanding, social cohesion, and celebrate diversity. View our archives.

We hope that from wherever you are—you take a moment to to acknowledge and honor the native people whose lands you are on, and the history of the place you are in. https://native-land.ca/


New Haven is one of the most diverse, creative and welcoming small cities in New England. We have a rich history and outstanding academic institutions including Yale where many of our events take place. New Haven is a walkable “human-scale” city with shops, outstanding restaurants, museums, boutique hotels and several parking areas. There is public transportation from Metro North train station and we are off I-95 and I-91. Set in the beautiful hills and estuaries of Connecticut, New Haven is home to the Quinnipiac tribe, a storied colonial history and a long tradition of welcoming immigrants from all over the world. One out of every eight residents is foreign-born and our students speak over 100 languages at home. Although immigration is a complex issue, residents widely agree that our diversity is the primary source of our cultural, social and economic health. We think that’s something we should all celebrate.