It's that time of year again: one of reflection and looking back, but also one of looking forward and setting intentions for a New Year. Here are some intentions from our Executive Director, Shelley Quiala, for both the Festival--and herself!
Joy is not frivolous, it is essential. In this time of heaviness and change and social isolation and loss, I want the Festival to lift up moments of collective and personal joy as necessary and worthy of investment. My friend Ana Maria Alvarez, Founder and Artistic Director of CONTRA-TIEMPO created a piece called JoyUS, JustUS in which she celebrates and centers joy as a necessary tool and act of resilience in the work of social justice. The City of New Haven Arts, Culture, & Tourism Division has invested in joy in the work they are doing in partnership around the city.
I love the opportunity to share artistic experiences. While we not be sharing air, or feeling our hearts beating in syncopated rhythm at a concert, we can talk about a streamed performance that we saw online in a chat room; we might be able to see each others smiles as we meet in a Zoom room for a conversation or co-create in virtual platforms. All of these moments and connections fill us up in different ways and we will lean into them and celebrate them and each other.
I got into this world as a young person who loved to dance, act out skits, play piano and be creative. Getting into arts administration was about me engaging a skill set I had to facilitate that love of creation and community with those around me. In order to keep that spark in my work, I need to practice art.
As a new Executive Director and a new resident of New Haven (lots of ‘new!’) I am conscious of wanting to live up to and step into the awesome opportunity that I have been given. I want to embrace and be embraced by this incredible community, state, and village of art makers and art lovers. I walk in the shadows of greats and on the shoulders of giants. I know that I navigate this journey, I am going to have moments in which I am weary and misstep. Holding high expectations for myself while giving myself grace is a critical part of compassionate leadership. It is the part that keeps me humble, and human and relatable. I will embrace it.