Welcome to the ARTS FIRST festival!
Read the 2019 ARTS FIRST Festival Guide online.
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! Find out who else is going on the Facebook event page.
Highlights for ARTS FIRST 2019
The festival kicks off Thursday, May 2, 4-5:30 p.m. at Agassiz Theatre with the Harvard Arts Medal ceremony. The 2019 Arts Medal recipient is poet and U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith '94. Free tickets available April 17 (HUID holders) and April 19 (general public). Find out more here. Join the Facebook event here.
On Friday, May 3, 5:30-7 p.m. in the Science Center Plaza Tent, Harvard Jazz Bands will present Jazz on the Plaza, with band leaders Yosvany Terry and Mark Olson, plus special guest artist Don Braden '85. Find out more here. Join the Facebook event here.
The festival ramps up Saturday, May 4, 12:30-1 p.m. on the Plaza with the always cheerful Harvard University Band for the official opening of the Performance Fair. 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. 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. Join the Facebook event here.
Make Art stations on Saturday 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.
On Sunday, May 5, 11 a.m. at the Smith Campus Center, members of Silkroad Ensemble, Parker Quartet and the Brattle Street Chamber Players of Harvard College will share the stage for a combination of chamber music styles and sounds. Free and open to the public; no tickets requred. Find out more here. Join the Facebook event here.
Singer Ali Sethi '06, who specializes in Indo-Muslim classical and folk genres, will take the stage for a concert May 5, 7 p.m. at Sanders Theatre. He will be joined in conversation with his mentor Ali Asani '77, professor of Indo-Muslim Religion and Cultures at Harvard and onstage with Grammy Award-winning musician Noah Georgeson and a live band. The event is free to students at any colleges, with tickets available April 23, and $10 for general public available April 26. Find more information here. Join the Facebook event here.
A special pre-festival concert featuring world-class pianist Angela Hewitt, presented by the Harvard Department of Music, will take place Tuesday, April 30, 8 p.m. at Paine Hall. The OFA Learning from Performers program will also present an open-to-the public workshop with Harvard students on Wednesday, May 1. Find out more here. Join the Facebook event 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.