Is ARTS FIRST happening in 2023?
Yes! We are currently planning to host a variety of in-person, hybrid, and virtual events for ARTS FIRST 2023. While plans for on-campus live performances are subject to change based on evolving university COVID policies, ARTS FIRST 2023 will take place, showcasing the creativity of the Harvard arts community through performances, art exhibitions and art-making activities. 

For Performers
Who can perform in ARTS FIRST?
All Harvard affiliates (undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff and alumni/ae) may apply to perform and exhibit artwork during ARTS FIRST. Performing ensembles may include non-Harvard affiliates, as long as at least one performer is a Harvard affiliate. 

What kind of support is provided to performers?
We provide publicity for individual events in the ARTS FIRST guide, the Harvard College Events Calendar, our weekly e-newsletter The Beat and on our social media. We also publicize the festival in general throughout the greater Boston area.

When ARTS FIRST is in-person and on-campus, we provide production support to artists in the ARTS FIRST Performance Fair by supplying a performance venue, stage manager, ushers, chairs and music stands, and other audio equipment depending on the venue. Some venues have sound reinforcement and an on-site audio engineer, while others are limited to acoustic performances.

For pre-recorded and livestreamed performances, we provide publicity support, logistical guidance as needed, as well as an online platform for viewing performance videos.

What are the expectations for performers?
We expect clear communication about your performance needs and any potential schedule conflicts. If the details of your performance change, please email us updates promptly. On the day of the ARTS FIRST Performance Fair, all performers are expected to arrive at their assigned venue at least 20 minutes prior to their performance time slot.

We also expect performers to honor their commitment to performing in ARTS FIRST. While spring is a busy time of the academic year, we encourage applicants to carefully consider their spring schedule before submitting their ARTS FIRST Performance Fair application, to prevent schedule conflicts.

For pre-recorded and livestreamed performances, we expect to receive your video link on or before the deadline for inclusion in our online gallery.

Can performers pick their location?
When ARTS FIRST is in-person and on-campus, all Performance Fair performers will be assigned a location by the ARTS FIRST staff. Performers are welcome to name their preferred location, but we cannot guarantee that your preference will be met.

Can performers pick their performance time?
All Performance Fair performers will be assigned a time slot, usually 15-20 minutes in length, by the ARTS FIRST staff. Time slots are carefully selected to prevent schedule conflicts for performers in multiple ensembles, so be sure to list all of your performers’ other commitments in your ARTS FIRST application.

Something came up and my performing group needs to cancel. What should we do?
You might not need to cancel. We encourage performers to think creatively about alternate ways to perform, such as: changing a group work to a solo piece, changing the instrumentation (e.g. replacing a singer with a piano or violin soloist), bringing in a substitute performer, performing selected excerpts instead of a full work, and/or replacing the originally planned work with a different one that your group has performed successfully in the past.

If none of these options are viable and your group must cancel, please contact Marin Orlosky, ARTS FIRST Coordinator
, as soon as possible.

Why are the application deadlines so early in the academic year?
While the ARTS FIRST application deadlines may seem very far in advance, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes planning necessary to coordinate everyone’s publicity and production needs. Since ARTS FIRST is a university-wide festival that involves more than 500 student artists and over 100 performances and exhibitions, timely communication from everyone helps our planning process move forward smoothly.

For Volunteers & Other Participants
Who can volunteer to help with ARTS FIRST?
Everyone 16 years of age or older can volunteer for ARTS FIRST, regardless of whether or not they are a Harvard affiliate. Some knowledge of Harvard’s campus is helpful. We provide a brief training session for volunteers in advance of their volunteer shift. Volunteer applications will be posted 
in October.

What can ARTS FIRST volunteers expect to do?
On the day of the ARTS FIRST Performance Fair, volunteers may help set up or put away chairs, music stands, and signs; greet visitors and provide basic directions to performance venues; check in performers; and other tasks as needed.

In advance of the festival, volunteers may help deliver ARTS FIRST guides and t-shirts to various locations on the Harvard campus, or organize festival materials.

What are the perks of volunteering at ARTS FIRST?
All volunteers receive an ARTS FIRST t-shirt, free snacks, and the opportunity to see exciting ARTS FIRST performances throughout their volunteer shift.

Can I list my event in the ARTS FIRST guide?
Any event taking place on the Harvard campus between offically posted ART FIRST dates can be listed in the ARTS FIRST guide by filling out a publicity application. Publicity applications will be posted in October. These events will also be posted to the ARTS FIRST website in April.

Is there funding available for ARTS FIRST events?
Some funding is provided for selected Public Art projects in Harvard Yard and the Smith Campus Center. ARTS FIRST Performance Fair performances are directly given a free venue, publicity, and production support, instead of funding. If your event requires additional support, consider applying for a Project Grant.

Public Art
Who is eligible to present public art at ARTS FIRST?
All Harvard undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply to present Public Art in Harvard Yard, including sculpture, installations, or installations with performance/video components. Selected projects are presented.

All other Harvard affiliates (faculty, staff, alumni/ae) are welcome to reserve exhibition space for their artwork in another on-campus location. Feel free to contact us if you need assistance in finding a location to exhibit your artwork.

What kind of support is provided for public art projects?
Student Public Art projects that are selected for exhibition in Harvard Yard will receive funds towards the cost of materials, publicity in the ARTS FIRST guide and on the OFA website, and supporting guidance from a professional visual artist.