International Festival of Arts & Ideas

Check out what our friends at the Festival have planned each day!

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas celebrates its 25th anniversary with a variety of online artistic experiences, virtual food experiences, cell phone-guided walking tours, and various NEA Big Read activities. The virtual Ideas programming centered on the theme "Democracy: We the People" features interactive events and conversations with vital thinkers, including 2012 Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco, award-winning scholar Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean, NEA Big Read Author Stephanie Burt, and renowned writer Anand Giridharadas. All programming is free.

This year’s Festival is very different from any they’ve done before. This isn't the 25th Anniversary they imagined, but it's a Festival we can all take part in – and love.

Just click here for a day-by-day calendar or use the links below for upcoming events:

An Artistic Response to the Poetry of Stephanie Burt
Monday, June 1 at 6 PM - FREE
The New Haven Pride Center has partnered with Nasty Women Connecticut to produce the exhibition An Artistic Response to the Poetry of Stephanie Burt, featuring the works of Connecticut transgender artists.

Ideas Series: Constitution Cafe            
Wednesday, June 3, 5 PM - FREE, Registration Required
Join Mayor Justin Elicker, your neighbors, and local experts in a series of community dialogues around daily issues that intersect with The Constitution. Bring your ideas, questions, and curiosity and join in this online iteration of artist Linda Pollack’s project, My Daily Constitution, which creates rigorous constitutional discussions outside of the lecture hall and places them into public life.

Ideas Series: Democracy, Pandemic, and How We Move Forward
Thursday, June 4, 7 PM - FREE
Former Connecticut Secretary of State Miles Rapoport moderates a conversation with political commentator and author Heather McGhee, political activist and CEO of Voto Latino María Teresa Kumar, and political scholar Archon Fung, all of whom have spent their lives working to strengthen our democracy. Together they will explore the question: Where do we go from here?

Ideas Series: Democracy, Refugees, and Asylum    
Friday, June 5 at 5 PM - FREE
Historian Quan Tran and sociologist Jasmina Besirevic-Regan share their personal stories and professional perspectives on borders, migration, and democracy. Bring your questions and curiosities to this interactive event with our partners at IRIS.

Syrian Mezze and Dessert Cooking Class
With Sanctuary Kitchen

Saturday, June 6 at 7 PM - $25
Join Sanctuary Kitchen for a mezze and dessert cooking class led by Syrian refugee chef Nour. Pick up the ingredients from Sanctuary Kitchen, and then cook along with Nour from home to make Muhammara, a bold and tangy spread with bulgur, red peppers, walnuts and pomegranate, and Qatayif, sweet ricotta filled pancakes with an orange.

Walking Tour: Shubert Theatre
The Shubert’s backstage tour is the perfect activity for any theater or history enthusiast. You’ll be amazed by the incredible history of this 100+ year old theater set in the heart of downtown New Haven. Enjoy the virtual tour here.

Virtual Box City
Box City has a long history at the Festival. During this annual event, children of all ages help create a visionary, temporary, recyclable model city of the future. This year, for the first time ever, Box City is going virtual in Minecraft. Find out how to participate and check out our growing city.

Activist Songbook Virtual Choir, "There Will Be Joy"
Virtual Choirs, made up of musicians and non-musicians, record songs from the Activist Songbook repertoire and perform together from the safety of their own homes. With a single Zoom rehearsal under their belts, performers use guide tracks to record their parts separately, singing along and improvising.

Arts on Call
Gift someone you love with a—socially distanced—arts performance! Choose an artist from our website and select a time for that artist to perform at an outdoor location of your choice. Book a juggler to perform on your grandchildren's front lawn, send a guitar player to strum beneath your girlfriend's window—the possibilities are endless. All proceeds go straight to the participating New Haven Artists.