Imagine Beginnings

Festival 2021 Opening Ceremony


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Imagine: A mini version of the whole International Festival of Arts & Ideas, complete with musical performances, talks, and a film! Help us kick off Festival 2021 with an address from our Executive Director Shelley Quiala, followed by live musical performances by the six artists who wrote, produced, and recorded this year’s theme song “Imagine.” The artists will discuss what it’s like to work and live as an artist in this day and age, followed by a screening of a 30-minute documentary that gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the music was made. A live performance of the “Imagine” song, with all six artists jamming out, will cap this inaugural event.  

PLEASE NOTE: By reserving this event, you are reserving a curated evening presented on the mainstage. We hope you will join us for the full evening, but you may choose to attend single events. The events included in this curated evening are:

Paul Bryant Hudson

Paul Bryant Hudson is a New Haven based singer-songwriter. Grounded in cultural truth and identity, Paul actively channels energies from periods of BLACK cultural and creative enlightenment, fusing them with contemporary hip hop and soul components. These cultural values are prominent in his references and tributes to African American music, art, literature, and folklore.

Salwa Abdussabur

Salwa Abdussabur (they them) is a Connecticut born singer, songwriter, actress, and poet who sung background for Childish Gambino during his historical host and performance on Saturday Night Live to debut the “This is America” and “Saturday” Singles. They are an up and coming artist with soul and consciousness that uses their voice and floetry to both uplift spirits and voices.

Ro Godwynn

Ro, a musician and activist local to New Haven, sought to create moments and spaces of healing through music.after recovering from covid-19, Ro made a vow to continue to connect with their following in different ways, keeping wellness at the forefront of their mission. they started making natural and sustainable skincare products, combining their love of healing, self-care, and the planet as they continue to create, Ro hopes to galvanize their audience to choose self-care and healing.

Olive Tiger

Olive Tiger is an evolution of sound and texture: a nontraditional trio that lushly combines electronics with organic elements of chamber-pop, defying the boundaries of genre in favor of obsessive exploration. Grounded in stunning songwriting, Olive Tiger arcs continuously toward more meticulous, more rich and more seductive arrangements, creating detail-rich songs that evoke a broad spectrum of images and emotions. Translated into the language of the band, the result is a soundscape in which captivating risks and unpredictable melodies are the norm.

Tranisha Blackwell




Watch any performance of singer, song writer, Kennedy, and you’ll become a fan for life! 

With incredible range, and a unique vocal texture you will wonder why you are only now hearing of this immense talent. An engulfing voice that is reminiscent of the past, yet youthful and charming Kennedy is one of New York’s great talents.

Hailing from the suburbs of Michigan, Kennedy made her arrival in NYC only a few years ago. Within that time and space she has cultivated her own sound as band leader having a weekly residency in legendary Greenwich Village as the lead and  front women of her namesake, Kennedy Administration. 

Ms. Kennedy has been privileged to lend her brilliant talent to Revive Music’s “Sarah Vaughn Clifford Brown” tribute performed at the Kennedy Center, Christian Aguilar’s NBA All Star performance, drum legend Jojo Mayer’s drum technique dvd, Winter Jazz Fest with Ray Angry, Jeff “Tain” Watts, and James Genus to name a few! Kennedy and Kennedy Administration were honored to be open up for music legend Sir Elton John in the summer of 2018 at the Black Sea Arena, in Batumi, Georgia. 

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