ARTS FIRST

  • Arts First 2019

    ARTS FIRST Festival April 30-May 3, 2020

    Join us for our annual celebration of arts and community!

Click here to find out how you can volunteer, participate and get funding for ARTS FIRST, April 30-May 3, 2020. 

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 April 30-May 3, 2020.

All ages! All arts! All are welcome!

Highlights for ARTS FIRST 2020

Ruben Blades
Rubén Blades
ARTS FIRST kicks off 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, April 30 at Sanders Theatre with the Harvard Arts Medal ceremony. The 2020 Arts Medal recipient is legendary salsa singer, Grammy winner, politician, actor and activist Rubén Blades LL.M. '85. Find out about tickets here. 

Rev. Dr. Braxton Shelley and Testimony will present a gospel choir concert 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, May 1, on the Science Center Plaza.

The festival ramps up 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 2 with THUD and the Harvard Pops Orchestra for the official opening of the Performance Fair. The ARTS FIRST Performance Fair runs 1-5 p.m. with comedy, a cappella, dance, music of all kinds, drama, Make Art Stations and more. 

At 11 a.m. Sunday, May 3 at the Smith Campus Center, Vijay Iyer, the Parker Quartet and the Brattle Street Chamber Players of Harvard College share the stage for a combination of music styles and sounds, and at 1:30 p.m. Harvard College Opera with present an original children's opera adaptation of Sleeping Beauty. At 7 p.m., The Art of Comedy will showcase professional comedians in conversation with producer Nicky Weinstock '91 plus an improv round-up with Harvard comedy troupes. 

All of these events are free and open to the public — and represent highlights of the festival. Check back soon for more details about these events and many others that are free and open to the public and to family audiences. 

Read the 2019 ARTS FIRST Festival Guide online.
Find your way around the festival with the official Harvard map

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.