The Visionary Leadership Award honors a leader whose trailblazing work impacts the world. The award ceremony and its associated events occur outside the two-week Festival, and proceeds from the event support The Jean Handley Fund for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. The Visionary Leadership Award event connects the Festival's Ideas programs to everyday impacts on the community.
The Award was created in honor of the late Jean M. Handley’s leadership as a Founding Director of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. Ms. Handley provided thoughtful and effective leadership as a lifelong champion of many of the region’s arts, cultural, social, and educational organizations. She was also a role model for women: a person of extraordinary wisdom and an individual of exceedingly high standards who was generous with her talent and time.