We envision a flourishing city and state in which a festival of arts and ideas plays a vital role in enriching lives and leading people to understand how their futures are intertwined.
Excellence in Performance and Leadership
Inclusiveness – bringing people together
Openness to new ideas, new arts, new cultures, new individuals
We respectfully acknowledge that we live, work and play on the unceded lands of the Quinnipiac, Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden Hill Paugussett, and the Nianti. While we honor the culture and history of these nations, we also acknowledge that Native people are contemporary artists, writers, scholars, neighbors, and relatives with whom we must be in relationship to live our values fully.
Visit native-land.ca/ to learn more.
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.
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.
The Visionary Leadership Award honors a leader whose trailblazing work impacts the world. The award luncheon and its associated events occur outside the two-week Festival, and proceeds from the award luncheon support The Jean Handley Fund for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. The award luncheon and associated events connect the Festival's ideas programs to every day impacts on the community. Learn more about VLA.
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