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Arts & Culture

New Haven Labor Day Festival Focuses On Front-Line Workers, Vaccinations

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International Festival of Arts and Ideas

This Labor Day weekend, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas will pay tribute to front-line workers during the pandemic with art and music in downtown New Haven.

The festival is called “Arts for Labor.” On Saturday and Sunday, the New Haven green will be humming with performances by local and international musicians, including famed Ecuadorian musician Paco Godoy and the Gran Orquestra Internacional. The festival will also feature DJs, dance and spoken word performances, as well as the Downtown Art Quest — a kind of walkable art scavenger hunt. Shelley Quiala, executive director of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, said this weekend is all about celebrating front-line workers.

“They’ve been showing up every day, and they’ve really kept us moving forward,” said Quiala. “It’s not something that we can take for granted as we continue to ask folks to show up amidst a pandemic.”

Another important element of “Arts for Labor” will be getting folks vaccinated. A mobile clinic will be on hand during the festivities to administer free vaccines.

“It just made sense,” said Quiala. “Let’s partner with the city of New Haven, let’s use this opportunity while people are gathering anyway and ask them to get vaccinated, because that’s going to help our arts partners around the city be able to come back in a real way. Almost everyone around New Haven is starting their programming in October indoors. So we need to do this right now for this to work.”

The festival is offering incentives to get vaccinated, like gift cards and free tickets to local arts venues.

Masks and social distancing will be strongly encouraged for the audience and performers alike.

The concerts get underway Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m. To see the complete lineup, go to artidea.org.