Past Projects and Events

New Haven
Downtown Revitalization and the Arts



In 2001 International Arts Initiatives was commissioned by Market New Haven, Yale University and the City of New Haven, Connecticut, to develop a series of large scale concerts to attract people to downtown New Haven as part of its ongoing urban renewal project.

In the summer of 2001 International Arts Initiatives programmed and produced nine separate weekends of shows on the historic New Haven Green including the New Haven Jazz Festival. By presenting a mix of artists with the popular appeal of Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte and the Roots in a festival format, International Arts Initiatives managed to attract over 125,000 residents and visitors to the heart of New Haven.

The impact of popularizing the downtown sector as an entertainment destination boosted local businesses including restaurants, stores and hotels.

The main focus of the event programming was to create a series of very different events that reflected the full spectrum of New Haven’s demographic. During the course of the summer the Green became a regular destination for all sectors of New Haven’s urban population achieving massive cross-over with diverse and integrated events.

Shows included a New Orleans/Caribbean/Latino celebration with Cubanismo, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Los Hombres Calientes; a blues evening with veteran Robert Jr Lockwood and rock and roll legends Little Feat; a folk concert with Dar Williams and the Nields; and a special show with the legendary singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte.

The New Haven Jazz Festival featured Ray Charles, Dianne Reeves, Poncho Sanchez, Steve Turre, Kurt Elling, Claudia Acuna, Stefon Harris, and a host of New Haven’s finest jazz musicians.

The summer of 2001 closed with a free hip-hop show on the Green headlined by the legendary Roots crew from Philadelphia.

The following year International Arts Initiatives was again commissioned to program another series of concerts on New Haven Green. Shows headlined by soul legend Wilson Pickett and Latin music superstar Ruben Blades delighted thousands of fans and turned the Green into a huge community dance hall!

The summer opened with a newly created New Haven Blues and Roots Festival with events both on New Haven Green and at the historic Shubert Theatre featuring Etta James, Keb’ Mo’, James Cotton, The Fairfield Four and Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Cha’s.

Surveys conducted on behalf of the City of New Haven showed a marked rise in the visitor-friendliness of the downtown and a large increase in trade and business development in the downtown sector.

While statistics can measure the impact of two summers of performing arts in helping change the heart and soul of downtown New Haven, International Arts Initiatives was simply honoured to be able to present some of the most vital artists in the world of music to huge numbers of very happy people, week after week, for two incredible rainfree summers.


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