About the Festival

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is a year-round organization that culminates with an annual celebration of performing arts, lectures, and conversations each summer in New Haven, Connecticut. The Festival convenes leading artists, thought leaders, and innovators from around the world for dynamic public programs to engage, entertain, and inspire a diversity of communities. In 2021, more than 95% of Festival programs will be free to the public, including events that feature some of the most influential musical, dance, and theater artists of our time.  

The Festival takes place virtually and in open spaces in downtown New Haven, in the heart of the northeast corridor, two and a half hours south of Boston and 90 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 Calabresi, Jean M. Handley, and Roslyn Meyer, who 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 Yale University, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Connecticut Office of the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from The City of New Haven, the Avangrid Foundation in partnership with United Illuminating and Southern CT Gas, Connecticut Humanities, a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, our media sponsor Connecticut Public, and our generous community of individual supporters.


What's being said:

  • "If you experienced the often sublime performances, excursions and workshops offered by the International Festival of Arts & Ideas last weekend, consider these images a chronicle of good memories." - The Daily Nutmeg, June 23, "Seize the Days"


  • "What does your hair say about you? Malakhi Eason often wears his long braids woven into a golden crown. When the Boston native, 34, arrived in New Haven to assume his new role as program director for the city’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas, an idea came off the top of his head. The result is one of the festival’s showcase events, a Hair Art show celebrating the “human canvas” of hairstyling, taking place Saturday on the New Haven Green and via livestream." - The Boston Globe, June 16, "Glorying in the Art of Hair"

2021 Brochure

Image of 2021's performance of EVIDENCE: A Dance Company by Leigh Busby
Image of La'Diva Monet by Leigh Busby.
Image from 2021 Art & Hair Show by Luciana McClure
See our 2021 Festival recap!