Executive Director Mary Lou Aleskie to depart Festival in Spring


Gordon Geballe, Board Chair of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, today announced that Executive Director Mary Lou Aleskie, who has served in that post since 2005, will depart the Festival in the coming months to become the Howard L. Gilman '44 Director of the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College.

“Mary Lou Aleskie's remarkable tenure at Arts & Ideas has been distinguished by her tremendous leadership of the Festival staff and board, phenomenal collaboration with artists from around the world, and––perhaps most importantly––fierce advocacy for New Haven as a world-class destination for arts lovers locally, nationally, and internationally,” Geballe noted. “While we are sad to see Mary Lou go, we are proud of her many successes here and celebrate this new opportunity at Dartmouth for her and her family.”

“In the last decade, the Festival has not only succeeded in bringing the world to New Haven. We put New Haven and this Festival on the world stage. While expanding the Festival's global visibility, we have deepened our commitment to our city and state in a way that not only assures access to great art but has advanced communities and offered real opportunities for training, networking, jobs and performance,” said Mary Lou Aleskie. “I am so proud of the work we have accomplished and look forward to watching it flourish well into the future.”

A search committee will be appointed in January and will oversee the hiring of an international search firm to support its efforts. In the interim, the Festival will be co-directed by the Festival's Managing Director Liz Fisher, Director of Development Tom Griggs, and Director of Programming Chad Herzog.

Geballe continued: "On behalf of the entire Board, we are fortunate to have Liz, Tom, and Chad on our team to lead our very capable and accomplished staff. We've got an astonishing 2017 Festival in store and I can't wait to share the lineup with the community in March!"


The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is a year-round organization that culminates with an annual celebration of performing arts, lectures, and conversations each June in New Haven, CT. The 2017 Festival will take place June 10–24. The Festival convenes leading artists, thought leaders, and innovators from around the world for fifteen days of dynamic public programs to engage, entertain, and inspire a diversity of communities.

More than 80% of Festival programs are free to the public, including events that feature some of the most influential jazz, classical, dance, and theater artists of our time. The Festival takes place in venues and open spaces in downtown New Haven, in the heart of the northeast corridor, two and a half hours south of Boston and ninety minutes north of New York City.

The Festival’s programs have an impact throughout the year and include additional performances, educational opportunities, and the annual Visionary Leadership Award. The Festival was established in 1996, by Anne Tyler Calabresi, Jean M. Handley, and Roslyn Meyer. They envisioned an annual celebration in New Haven—a city steeped in a rich array of cultural and educational traditions—distinguished from other arts festivals by its fusion of the arts with events centered on sharing ideas.

The Festival is presented with major support from the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Yale University, Key Bank, Comcast/NBC Connecticut, The City of New Haven, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, and the National Endowment for the Arts.