The Blogfest!

The Festival Blog

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas will present the 2nd annual Visionary Leadership Award to Jill Abramson, the first female executive editor of The New York Times in its 160-year history. The award presentation and benefit luncheon will take place from Noon to 2PM at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please call Patrick J. Dunn at 203-498-3704 or email

Click here to read article in New Haven Register

Click here to read article in New Haven Independent

The Festival's Director of Performance Programming Cathy Edwards just finished up her final year as guest curator of the ninth annual Portland Institue for Contemporary Arts' Time-Based Art Festival. Read how these interdisciplinary festivals have become "cultural Cuisinarts."

Click to read article in the New York Times

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas co-sponsored the Somalia panel featuring rap artist K'naan on Monday night at the Yale University Art Gallery. Hosted by the Yale World Fellows Program, the event addressed issues around international aid, the politics of dignity, and a new paradigm for transparency and citizen-based initiatives. K'naan is best known for his hit single "Wavin' Flag" (link to video here) the 2010 World Cup anthem.

Read the article in Yale Daily News here

Read the article on Middle East North Africa Financial Network here

Freedom’s Journey, the International Festival of Arts & Ideas’ exploration into the progression of civil rights in the U.S. and in Connecticut, commissioned six poets to write new poems about historic sites along Connecticut’s Freedom Trail. Poets Kate Rushin, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Jarita Davis, Randall Horton and Bessy Reyna recited their poems as part of “Freedom’s Journey: Poetic Reflections on African-American Legacies.” This Ideas program, originally presented on June 23rd during the 16th International Festival of Arts & Ideas, features Robert Stanton, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, former Director of the National Park Service, and noted African-American environmentalist who talked about the importance to preserve and commemorate heritage sites. Moderated by Laura Wexler, Professor of American Studies at Yale University.

Watch this Ideas Panel in its entirety here on our website or download it on iTunes to take with you.

This spring, students enlisted in the School’s post-masters program will be tasked with the hands-on experience of designing a 300 square-foot pavilion for New Haven’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas. The course was developed as a joint effort between four students in the Master of Architecture II degree program, along with the help of faculty advisor Brennan Buck. The class is a three-month endeavor that will take the 12 enrolled students through the process of dreaming up an enclosure for the festival and building it out. Read more here...

“9/11 is a litmus test of our humanity”…
Bill T. Jones, choreographer/director
(link to video)

With the precision and directness of a lightening bolt, in words and movement Bill has the amazing ability to wake us up, to get our attention, to make us think. What a monotone place the world would be without him and artists like him.

I just returned from Edinburgh where I was fortunate enough to be an invited delegate of the British Council along with 200 colleagues from around the world to the British Showcase at the famed Edinburgh Fringe.

I have recently been feeling a heightened sense of awe toward the world of the performing artist. This is a world that takes an idea and turns it into an animated form of self-expression that requires the artistry and attention of others for its realization. This is a world of trust that turns the thoughts and inspiration of the individual into a community of sharing. It is a world that can only exist in its interdependence and the trust that comes from believing in those around you.

On the surface this seems to me a stunning leap of faith especially in a world as volatile and cynical as ours can be. Yet it is our artists who work together, who depend on one another to create. Their collaborations remind us of the possibility, the hope, and the wonder of our common humanity.

This notion struck me while watching an exquisite performance of the Scottish Royal Ballet in a newly choreographed work set to an unlikely but delightful pairing of Steve Reich and Mozart. I began to think about the battalion of faceless creators across the ages from Mozart himself to the dancers, designers, musicians, coaches, and more, all working together to share their collective creation with room after room full of expectant observers whom they hoped to delight. And there we were, all of us sitting in the dark, measuring the result of the performance though our own lens, reaping the benefit of artistic collaboration which stretched not only across disciplines, but across time.

What an awe-inspiring act of hopeful wonder is this world of the performing artist as a model for life in an interdependent world where the hopes and dreams of the many are made possible through thoughtful and responsible actions of individuals.

With this in mind, it is gratifying to know that political thinker and scholar, Benjamin Barber, has put artists at the center of his Interdependence Day celebration coming up this weekend in New York. The Festival is happy to be a program partner of this initiative with the online broadcast of our MUSIC, WARFARE AND THE SOLDIER'S STORY panel featuring a discussion on the role of music in warfare led by WNYC’s John Schaeffer, composer David T. Little, decorated veteran Moe Armstrong, and Musicorp founder, Arthur Bloom.

We invite you to embrace our collective interdependence by attending the Interdependence Celebration and Forum either online or live in New York. It is free and not too late to register.  Whatever you decide to do this weekend, take a moment to consider what it means for each of us to live in the world as "citizens without borders." Let us recognize our responsibilities to each other as human beings and perhaps consider our personal "litmus test for our humanity." In addition to connecting online with the Interdependent Movement, I am looking forward to a pot luck dinner with neighbors.

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is proud to broadcast our Ideas Panel entitled “Music, Warfare and the Soldier's Story” originally held on June 25, 2011 at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, CT. Watch this Ideas Panel in its entirety here on our website or download it on iTunes to take with you.

Whether preparing soldiers for battle or providing consolation, music can be a patriotic war cry or a way to create empathy with the different viewpoints of war. This panel, moderated by WNYC Soundcheck’s John Schaeffer, explored the importance music has played in war with composer David T. Little, who wrote “Soldier Songs” and founded the contemporary classical ensemble Newspeak. Panelists include David T.Little, Arthur Bloom, composer, pianist and founder/director of Renovation in Music and Musicorps and Moe Armstrong, a decorated combat veteran in recovery.

This video is presented as part of Interdependence Day 2011, part of the Interdependence Day Movement which began as a response to the tragic events on 9/11 as a way to invite the world's leaders to find ways to respect each other's cultures. For more information, visit


Click here to read article from Montreal's daily newspaper La Presse on Festival Executive Director Mary Lou Aleskie’s recent trip as one of sixty invited delegates from around the world to Montreal Completement Cirque, North America's largest international festival of circus arts.

Read about the 2011 Festival’s highlights and accomplishments and why this was the “most impactful” festival in 16 years.  Click here for Sunday’s New Haven Register article (July 24, 2011)

Click here to read the New Haven Independent's report on the state budget and how it will effect the arts.