The CNN Travel website did a new year’s piece picking “a travel suggestion for each of the 50 states.” You can read it here.
The Connecticut pick is New Haven’s International Festival of Arts & Ideas.
The festival’s reputation as a tourist destination is not new. A&I held a press conference a few months ago to announce that its 2013 edition had the “highest economic impact” in the event’s 18-year history. There was no fudging of statistics to attain that record figure, which has been measured by the same guy at Quinnipiac University every years. Festivalgoers brought $34.3 million to the city—some of it directly to the festival via ticket sales, but mostly in spending that affected a host of other New Haven businesses that can otherwise be hard-hit during the summer months when Yale is out of session: hotels, restaurants, taxicabs…
The International Festivals of Arts & Ideas can sometimes be taken for granted in its home city and state. But to outside eyes, it’s a marvel: one of the longest running festivals of its kind in the country today, one that regularly brings in major U.S. premieres (in 2013, that included the Handspring Puppet Company’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Byron Au Yong & Aaron Jafferis’ musical Stuck Elevator and Martin Bresnick & J.D. McClatchy’s chamber opera My Friend’s Story) while also offering lectures, tours, master classes, workshop, dance and theater performances, kids activities and massive free concerts on New Haven Green.
Many similar fests have dried up due to lack of funding or inspiration. Not this one, despite a few blips and funding dips. It helps that A&I continually gets recognition such as this CNN Travel piece, or shout-outs from the New York Times, or NEA grants, or serious props from many of the artists who’ve played at it.
A&I is a shindig held for a jam-packed fortnight in June. This time of year is when the festival often must simply remind us of its existence, when snow is on the ground and June seems so far away. Thanks, CNN Travel, for making us think of Arts & Ideas again.