Welcome to the ARTS FIRST festival page!
Each ARTS FIRST festival 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, many music genres, stand-up and improv comedy, theater, public art, poetry, experimental performances and so much more! We look forward to sharing our Harvard community with you during ARTS FIRST on May 2-5, 2019. All ages! All arts! All are welcome!
Here are highlights from ARTS FIRST 2018:
The Festival kicked 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 was author Colson Whitehead '91. Read more about Whitehead and the Medal Ceremony here.
On Friday, April 27, the legendary classical pianist André Watts performed Beethoven's Emperor Concerto with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra at Sanders Theatre. Afterward, at Jazz on the Plaza, Harvard Jazz Bands jammed with guest guitarist David Gilmore. Read more about about Watts here and Gilmore here.
A chamber concert kicked off Saturday, April 28, when Silkroad Ensemble, Parker Quartet and the Brattle Street Chamber Players of Harvard College shared the stage in the Plaza tent. Afterward, Master of the Arts at Harvard, actor John Lithgow '67, ArD '05 was joined by the always cheerful Harvard University Band for the official opening of the Performance Fair.
ARTS FIRST Allston -- we're taking ARTS FIRST across the river for the day! -- took place Sunday, April 29. The day included Harvard Business School's Music, Bagels and Art (M.B.A. -- get it?), the celebratory launching of an Allston mural with Harlem-based artist Paul Deo, 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. The festival culminated 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.
Every year at ARTS FIRST includes:
The 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 the 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.
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.