Samantha's ARTS FIRST picks

CandelaOur blogger will perform with the Candela Dance Troupe during ARTS FIRST. She also has her eye on a handful of the 100-plus free events at the festival, which runs May 2-5. Here are her suggestions.

By Samantha Neville '19

ARTS FIRST is a time of openness, new beginnings and rejuvenation. For one spring weekend every year, Harvard Yard and its surroundings are transformed into a wide-ranging stage, an art exhibit in the open air. Theater, music, art and dance – of all kinds! – are all in store. Be sure to stop by and say hello to my classmates and me after the Candela Dance Troupe during DanceFest 3-5 p.m. Saturday, May 4 at the Plaza Tent. Below are a few events I am interested in attending. For more, see the Arts First Guide or the daily schedule of events by day.

Harvard Arts Medal Ceremony: Poet Tracy K. Smith ’94
 4-5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2 | Agassiz Theater 
I am beyond excited to see Tracy Smith ’94 be honored at the Harvard Arts Medal Ceremony. Indeed, there is hardly a literary award that Smith has not received. To name a few of Smith’s accomplishments, in 2012 she received a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and, in 2017, was named U.S. Poet Laureate. She concluded her second term on April 15, 2019. Above all, I look forward to hearing Smith read her work. I am most familiar with the poem My God, It’s Full of Stars, and reading it was a religious experience. Smith brings to life worlds “bursting at the seams with energy,” as she writes in that poem. You won’t want to miss this fantastic event.

Poetry of Nature, Nature of Poetry
1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4 | Fong Auditorium, Boylston
Walking around Harvard Yard, looking at the spring buds and blooms and the majestic trees, I can’t help feeling that nature is poetry, that life itself has a rhythm that can be sung in verse. Now more than ever we need to appreciate this world we live on, and what better way than with a poetry reading. I am thrilled about this event -- a collaboration between the Harvard Office for Sustainability and the Office for the Arts -- and I am eager to hear the poetry.

Beyond BordersBeyond Borders
11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 5 | Harvard Commons, Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center
What an opportunity this is! Even if any one of these musical groups – Silkroad artists, Parker Quartet or the Brattle Street Chamber Players - were playing alone, it would be a musical treat. However, the fact that they will be playing together in Harvard’s natural light-filled, Smith Campus Center, is thrilling. Whatever the fusion of these different groups creates it will certainly be a delightful once-in-a-lifetime experience.