High School Fellowship Program

Do you like drama, drawing, dancing, or even just doodling? Or would you rather read, recite, rehearse or write?

Are you interested in improving your skills in public speaking, presenting, performing, and pondering different points of view?

Do you want the credentials to convey that you can convincingly communicate, carry yourself with confidence, critically consider contrasting cultures, connect with your community and collect college credit?

If you are a New Haven public school sophomore or junior that answered YES to any of these questions, we encourage you to apply to become a Festival Fellow and immerse yourself in the Festival’s programming and behind-the-scenes action in the 6 months leading up to the Festival! (Psst… it’s free!)

Applications are closed for the 2019 Fellowship class.

Meet the 2018 Festival Fellows


The International Festival of Arts and Ideas’ Fellowship Program offers qualified New Haven public school sophomores and juniors a unique, fully-funded opportunity to learn about the arts. The Fellowship Program is a semester-long college-level course designed to develop students’ skills in communication and critical thinking by immersing them in all aspects of the Festival: performances, lectures, community engagement, production, and management.

Through weekly seminars, a broad range of arts-related activities, and the attendance of diverse arts events, we aim to equip the Fellows with the skills to become the next generation of artists, thinkers, and audience members. Fellows will learn to think and speak critically about the themes of the Festival’s various concerts, classes, talks, and performances, and ultimately lead their own event during the Festival as their capstone project.

At the end of the Fellowship Program, Fellows will also have a thorough understanding of the Festival’s non-profit operations. The program equips its Fellows with marketable experience, skills, and connections that will prove useful for future internships or employment opportunities. We see the Fellowship as a potential beginning of a longer-term engagement with the Festival. Our hope is that the Fellows will be interested in returning to the Festival in the following year in some capacity –as volunteers, interns, or employees.

Accredited through Gateway Community College, the Fellowship Program offers 3 college credits and an academic transcript upon successful completion of the program.

Priority is given to New Haven residents.


From January to June, successful candidates will attend 3-hour weekly seminars at Gateway. Each seminar takes a different format. The in-class seminars engage students using a combination of classroom instruction, discussions, writing, and creative responses. Fellows will also go on field trips to performances and events and learn about non-profit management through presentations by Festival staff.

Fellows will also have the opportunity to shadow Festival staff for hands-on experience in daily Festival operations as well as to interview Festival Board Members to learn about how the Festival is managed and how decisions are made.

In the spring, the Fellows will actively engage with the various communities of New Haven as volunteers at the Festival’s three Neighborhood celebrations. Spring is also when the Fellows create and produce their capstone project: a Town Hall discussion on a critical issue (last year, the topic was a reflection on Claudia Rankine's book Citizen: An American Lyric) that is part of the Festival schedule.

In this way, Fellows become acquainted with all sides of the festival – as staff, performers, audience members, and supporters.

Once the Festival starts in June, the Fellows will fully immerse themselves in the Festival’s intensive schedule, and will attend over 30 different events over the course of the month!

Fellow Responsibilities

All students accepted and enrolled in the Fellowship Program are required to attend the weekly 3-hour seminars. Attendance and participation is a large component of the Fellows’ final grade that appears on the college transcript they receive upon completing the program.

Fellows should arrive to each seminar on time, with an open mind, and ready to work and learn. Fellows should also complete and bring in any homework or assignments to the seminar. Participation and assignments are also graded.

During the Fellowship Program, Fellows are held to the same academic standards and protocols as other college students enrolled at Gateway. This includes, but is not limited, to on-campus behavior, meeting deadlines, academic honesty, and clear communication with instructors and other supervisors.

The Fellows are responsible for all communication with their teachers and supervisors. While we keep parents informed by sending out newsletters throughout the semester and event reminders in June, we expect Fellows to contact us directly if they have any questions, concerns, or if they are unable to attend a seminar or event.


In addition to filling out the form, you will need to submit the following:

Personal Statement

Please write a short narrative that introduces you to us and explains why you want to be a Festival Fellow. You should include information about each of the following: your interest in the arts, creative writing, or non-profit management, and how this interest would contribute to the Festival; why you feel we should consider you for the program and the skills and qualities you would contribute to it; and what skills and knowledge you hope to gain throughout the Fellowship. Personal essays should be one page, double-spaced.

Prompt Essay

Think about where you live, and who you spend your time with.  How much does your community define who you are? Discuss ways that your community shapes your identity.  Would you be a different person if you grew up someplace else?  Response should be no more than a page.


Provide an updated resume that includes information about your current and past education, work/volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, and marketable skills (computer software knowledge, social media, languages, etc.)

Then What?

We will contact you about your application status within a week of the submission deadline. We will invite applicants being considered for the Program for an interview at the Festival office at 195 Church Street.

Please note that due to the volume of applications we receive, we are unable to invite all applicants for an interview.


The International Festival of Arts & Ideas takes positive steps to enhance diversity in both its community and its programs. The Festival commits to this policy, not because of legal obligations, but because it fully believes that such practices are basic to human dignity. The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis race, color, age, ethnicity, religion, national origin, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability or status as a U.S. veteran.

Gateway Community College does not discriminate against individual on the grounds of race, color, religious creed, sexual identification, age, national origin, ancestry, political beliefs, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, handicaps, present or past history of mental disability, learning disability, genetic information, criminal record or physical disability, but not limited to, blindness. Gateway Community College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/ADA educational institution.


The Fellowship Program is presented in partnership with