• 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 from ARTS FIRST 2019

Tracy K. SmithThe festival kicked off Thursday, May 2 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. 

On Friday, May 3Harvard Jazz Bands presented Jazz on the Plaza, with band leaders Yosvany Terry, Mark Olson, and special guest artist Don Braden '85, and students from Radcliffe Choral Society, Harvard Glee Club and Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum performed Sea Symphony: A Celebration of Walt Whitman in Sanders Theatre.

The festival ramped up Saturday, May 4 with the Harvard University Band for the official opening of the Performance Fair. The ARTS FIRST Performance Fair featured comedy, a cappella, dance, music of all kinds, drama, Make Art Stations and more.

Ali SethiOn Sunday, May 5 at the Smith Campus Center, members of Silkroad Ensemble, Parker Quartet and the Brattle Street Chamber Players of Harvard College shared the stage for a combination of chamber music styles and sounds, and singer Ali Sethi '06, who specializes in Indo-Muslim classical and folk genres, took the stage at Sanders Theatre. He was 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. 

A special pre-festival concert featuring world-class pianist Angela Hewitt, presented by the Harvard Department of Music, took place Tuesday, April 30 at Paine Hall. The OFA Learning from Performers program also presented an open-to-the public workshop with Harvard students on Wednesday, May 1. 


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.