New Year's Resolutions: Looking forward with Shelley Quiala

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!

Stills from CONTRA-TIEMPO's JoyUS, JustUS

For the Festival

Center joy in our work

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.

Celebrate creative connections in all forms

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.

For Myself

Engage my creativity

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.

Give myself grace

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.