Video: Festivals and Biennials in Times of COVID-19

Festival directors and curators from Guanajuato, Istanbul, Porto Alegre, and Toronto shared how they’re adapting 2020 programming and their visions for the near future.


  • Mariana Aymerich, General Director, Festival Cervantino, Guanajuato 
  • Naomi Campbell, Artistic Director, Luminato Festival, Toronto 
  • Andrea Giunta, Chief Curator of Mercosul Biennial 12, Porto Alegre 
  • Mariana Pestana, Curator, Fifth Istanbul Design Biennial 
  • Aimé Iglesias Lukin, Chief Curator and Director of Visual Arts, Americas Society (moderator)
  • Sebastián Zubieta, Music Director, Americas Society (moderator)

As the coronavirus crisis affected festivals and biennials all over the world, how are curators for these major art events rethinking this year’s presentations and what will the pandemic mean for the community in the near future? Panelists from Guanajuato, Istanbul, Porto Alegre, and Toronto spoke with Americas Society’s Aimé Iglesias Lukin and Sebastián Zubieta about how they’ve adapted programming by going digital, resurfacing past performances, and delaying presentations.

From waiting on authorities’ decisions in Mexico to going local with performances and design projects in Canada, to rethinking printed materials and their share of responsibility with the environment when printing paper materials in Brazil, panelists talked about how to rethink festivals’ and biennials’ presentations without losing the close contact experience between the public and art that these community events inspire.