Harvard Arts Medal

Ruben Blades photo by Jose RoviraThe 2022 Harvard Arts Medal

On April 28 in Sanders Theatre, the Office for the Arts will present the 2022 Harvard Arts Medal to Rubén Blades L.L.M. '85 for his outstanding work as a musician, composer, music director, actor, activist and politician. The ceremony will include a musical performance of Blades' work by the student trio of Devon Gates '23, Veronica Leahy '23 and Kyra Teboe '22, a conversation featuring Blades, Yosvany Terry (director of Harvard Jazz Band) and actor John Lithgow '67, Art.D. '05, the presentation of the medal by President Lawrence S. Bacow and a performance by Harvard Jazz Band. Photo: Jose Rovira

Free. Tickets required. Limit 2 per person. For tickets: Harvard Box Office

The event is also the kick-off for the 2022 Harvard ARTS FIRST Festival, running April 28-May 1. All are welcome. 

History of the Harvard Arts Medal

The Harvard Arts Medal was established in 1995 to recognize excellence and demonstrated achievement in the arts by a Harvard or Radcliffe alum or faculty member. The medal is given to an individual who has achieved distinction in the arts and who has made a special contribution to the good of the arts, to the public good in relation to the arts, or to education. It is awarded by the Office of Governing Boards and the President of Harvard at the recommendation of a committee of faculty, alumni and administrators, which is convened by the OFA.

Past Recipients

2022 Rubén Blades LL.M. '85
2019 Tracy K. Smith '94
2018 Colson Whitehead '91
2017 John Lithgow ’67 ArD ’05
2016 Frank Gehry GSD '57 ArD '00
2015 Damian Woetzel MPA '07
2014 Margaret Atwood AM '62, Litt.D. '04
2013 Matt Damon '92
2012 Tommy Lee Jones '69
2011 Susan Meiselas EdM ’71
2010 Catherine Lord '70
2009 Fred Ho '79 (awarded Fall 09)
2009 John Ashbery '49 (awarded Spring 09)
2008 Joshua Redman '91
2007 John Adams ’69 MA ‘72
2006 Christopher Durang ‘71
2005 Maxine Kumin ‘46
2004 Yo-Yo Ma ‘76
2003 Mira Nair ‘79
2002 William Christie ‘66
2001 Peter Sellars ‘80
2000 John Harbison ‘60
1999 David Hays ‘52
1998 John Updike ‘54
1997 Bonnie Raitt ‘72
1996 Pete Seeger ‘40
1995 Jack Lemmon ‘47