Cathy Edwards Named Executive Director of NEFA

by Jacob Coakley




Cathy Edwards will start as the executive director of the New England Foundation for the Arts in late-January, after leaving her position as director of programming for The International Festival of Arts & Ideas


NEW HAVEN, CT—The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is happy to join the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) in announcing that Cathy Edwards, the Festival’s Director of Programming, will join NEFA as its new Executive Director beginning in late-January 2015. She will step down from her post at the Festival in mid-January.

“Cathy is a treasured colleague and exceptional curator,” said the Festival’s Executive Director, Mary Lou Aleskie. “While we were sad to see her go, we’re excited to share her leadership with the field. Her work here has advanced the Festival’s reach into our community and throughout the world, and her programming and leadership have expanded opportunities for artists and inspired audiences.”

“We look forward to our continued collaboration with Cathy in her new adventure as she leads NEFA into the future,” continued Aleskie. “We are proud to know that her talents will be focused on advancing our field in New England and throughout our global community.”

Cathy has been the Festival’s Director of Programming since 2006, and served a three-year term as the Artistic Director of the Time-Based Art Festival at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art in Portland, Oregon from 2008 to 2011. Previously, she was Artistic Director of Dance Theater Workshop in New York City, where she worked from 1996 to 2006.

Edwards has also served on numerous grant-giving and funding panels, including for the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, United States Artists, the Japan Foundation, and Creative Capital. She is currently serving on the board of directors of Movement Research, Inc., in New York City, and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. She received her BA degree from Yale College.

The New England Foundation for the Arts, based in Boston, Massachusetts, cultivates and promotes the arts in New England and beyond through programs that support artists across many forms of expression and many geographies, connecting them with collaborators and communities, fueling creative exchange and public discourse, and strengthening the creative economy. NEFA operates in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the New England state arts agencies, with additional funding from foundations, corporations, individuals and other government agencies. More information at


The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is a 15-day festival of performing arts, lectures, and conversations that celebrates the greatest artists and thinkers from around the world. Each June, the Festival takes over the theaters, open spaces, and courtyards of New Haven, Connecticut, with performances and dialogues that tickle the senses, engage the mind, and inspire the soul.

More than 80% of Festival programs are completely free to the public, including events that feature some of the most prestigious jazz, classical, dance, and theater artists in the world. The Festival’s programs have an impact throughout the year, including engagement and educational programming such as the Festival Fellowship Program for underserved youth, and the Visionary Leadership Award held in winter each year.

More information at