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.
Each ARTS FIRST is unique but you can look forward to the following highlights each year:
The Festival kicks off with the Harvard Arts Medal ceremony, honoring a Harvard or Radcliffe alumnus/a or faculty member for excellence and demonstrated achievement in the arts. The 2018 Arts Medal recipient will be author Colson Whitehead '91.
The ARTS FIRST Performance Fair features comedy, a cappella, dance, music of all kinds, drama and more! Performances (usually) run from 1-5 p.m. and showcase the talent and creativity of Harvard students, faculty and staff. Each year under the Plaza tent, you can see DanceFest, a celebration of dance traditions from around the world.
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. Each year offers a wide selection of activities to choose from.
More information will be coming soon!
In the Beginning... the ARTS FIRST Creation Story (sort of). (Photo: Jake Belcher/Office for the Arts)
In 2017, the ARTS FIRST Origin Story you never knew you wanted to know was told! In the beginning, Harvard was shrouded in darkness, sorrow and the hard sciences. The campus needed a hero. Then lo! The gods sent their muse, the fearless Rakeshules, who set out to illuminate the campus with art, creativity and transformative experiences: the ARTS FIRST Creation Story as told by some of the greatest actors of this or any generation: Dean Rakesh Khurana as the Fearless Rakeshules, Bringer of Art; Sir Dean Thomas Dingman as the Celestial Soprano of the Gods; The esteemed Gregory Mankiw as the Titan; The Reverend Jonathan Walton as the Narrator; Geneticist Pardis Sabeti as the Algorithmic Oracle; with River Charles Ensemble, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Harvard Ballet Company, Expressions Dance Company and Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones.