• dance

    ARTS FIRST Festival April 26–29

    art, music, fun & community!

Read the 2018 ARTS FIRST Festival Guide online.

Welcome to the 2018 ARTS FIRST Festival

Each ARTS FIRST is unique but every year combines the exuberance of Harvard students, faculty and affiliates who are passionate about the many art forms presented in four rousing days of performances, exhibitions and art-making opportunities. See visual art and opera, dance styles from around the world, new music forms, comedy routines, avant garde theater, public art, poetry, experimental performances and so much more! Below are some of the highlights from the 2018 ARTS FIRST festival. All of the following events are free and open to the public. All are welcome! All ages can attend the events listed below. We look forward to sharing our Harvard community with you this April 26-29. Need free parking? We've got you covered. Click here for information. 

CWThe Festival kicks off Thursday, April 26 with the Harvard Arts Medal ceremony, honoring a Harvard or Radcliffe alum or faculty member for excellence and demonstrated achievement in the arts. The 2018 Arts Medal recipient will be author Colson Whitehead '91, and the event is at 4 p.m. in Sanders Theatre. Read more about Whitehead and the Medal Ceremony here


AWCome for Beethoven, stay for jazz on Friday, April 27, when legendary classical pianist André Watts will perform Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra 5:30 p.m. at Sanders Theatre. Hang around for Jazz on the Plaza at 7:30 p.m., when Harvard Jazz Bands will jam with guest guitarist David Gilmore. Between concerts, catch dinner or a snack at the food trucks on the Science Center Plaza. Read more about these events and about Watts here and Gilmore here

PQA chamber concert kicks off Saturday, April 28, when Silkroad Ensemble, Parker Quartet and the Brattle Street Chamber Players of Harvard College share the stage, 11 a.m. at the Plaza tent. At 12:30 p.m., Master of the Arts at Harvard, actor John Lithgow '67, ArD '05 will be joined by the always cheering Harvard University Band for the official opening of the Performance Fair.  

PFThe ARTS FIRST Performance Fair features comedy, a cappella, dance, music of all kinds, drama and more! Performances run nonstop 1-5 p.m. and showcase the talent and creativity of Harvard students, faculty and staff. You can park yourself at one of the 11 stages, or wander around to see as much diverse art as you can cram into four hours!  DanceFest, a celebration of dance traditions from around the world, takes over the Plaza tent 3-5 p.m. This is a perennial favorite for the youngest arts lovers at the festival.

 Make Art Stations offer an opportunity for you to be an artist and take your creation home with you! Run by students and staff on the Plaza, you can try your hand at ceramics, figure drawing, crafts and more. Learn more about Make Art stations here

ceramicsARTS FIRST Allston -- we're taking ARTS FIRST across the river for the day! -- takes place on Sunday, April 29. Enjoy a full day of events including Harvard Business School's Music, Bagels and Art (M.B.A. -- get it?) at 11 a.m. at the Harvard i-lab, the celebratory launching of an Allston mural with Harlem-based artist Paul Deo, 12 p.m. at the Harvard Ed Portal and ongoing events 1-5 p.m. such as an open house at the OFA Ceramics Program, the Harvard Student Art Show, a lineup of student singer-songwriters in concert at The Grove and Western Ave. Arts Walk departing from the Ed Portal. The festival will culminate in a student-driven production of Antigone, Sophocles' drama about a woman who disobeys -- only the second classics play (move over, Agamemnon!) staged at Harvard Stadium in a century.  

ARTS FIRST is Harvard's annual showcase of student and faculty creativity. Produced by the Office for the Arts, with support from the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, the festival is a public event with many free performances and activities for Harvard and community members of all ages.