Propose a Public Art Project

Harvard ARTS FIRST Festival, April 27-30, 2023

Do you have a dynamic idea for a temporary public art installation to be included in Harvard's ARTS FIRST Festival? If so, we invite you to submit a Public Art Project Application.

Have your creative vision realized and on view for thousands of festival goers to admire and see during ARTS FIRST. Benefits include a project materials award of up to $1,500, access to labs and shop equipment to construct and build, project support and advice throughout the creation process, inclusion in the ARTS FIRST map and promotional materials and most importantly having your work on view in Harvard Yard throughout the festival. 

Public Art projects may include sculpture, multimedia installations, and/or installations with performance or augmented-reality components.

Students may propose outdoor projects for Harvard Yard, including the Old Yard and Tercentenary Theatre sites. 

Funded and supported by the Office for the Arts.
Bloom wooden sculpture
Deadline for ARTS FIRST 2023 Installations:  November 7, 2022, at 5pm EDT

Project concepts will be reviewed for:

  • Artistic/creative merit
  • Feasibility
  • Suitability for chosen site, including safety, vandalism, exterior/interior suitability and visibility
  • Grounds, facilities and accessibility compliance
  • AFVS or GSD affiliation (preferred)

Application Includes: 

  • Completion of online application
  • Supporting information listed below (online application provides how to/ link to submit.)
  • Submission of projected budget
    • specify costs, e.g., materials, equipment, and/or transportation of materials—and total expense
    • funds may NOT be used for artist fees, artist travel expenses, major equipment purchases (e.g., instruments, cameras), food/reception costs, or documentation
    • the maximum funding that may be awarded is $1,500
    • please indicate other sources of support if your budget is a greater amount
  • Submission of list of participating students
    NOTE: It is recommended that you enlist other students to help realize this project
    • include first/last name, class year, program enrolled in, email and cell phone
  • Submission of a visual presentation of your project 
    • please name the images with your project name followed by a number (i.e. "title_1.jpg")

For questions about the ARTS FIRST Public Art program, contact Kathy King, Visual Arts Coordinator, OFA

Projects at sites other than Harvard Yard (e.g., house courtyards) cannot be funded and supported by the OFA, but if approved by the facility/office overseeing those sites, can be included in publicity for ARTS FIRST 2023. 
If you have a confirmed site, you may complete an AF publicity form (see Perform & Participate) to list your project in the festival guide.

If you are an artist seeking exhibition space for ARTS FIRST 2023 and have questions or need assistance, please contact Marin Orlosky, ARTS FIRST Coordinator.

If you are seeking funding for a different type of independent art project, consider applying for an OFA Project Grant.

Photo credit, top: BLOOM by Wendy Engler, Nieman Foundation; Ling-Li Tseng, GSD; Aiko Nakano and Fernando Rodríguez, MIT; ARTS FIRST 2014

a public art installation featuring a huge inflated tube of reflective silver mylar tethered and propped up about 5 feet above the grass and amid trees in Harvard Yard. People are standing around it.
As Above, So Below: A floating, inflatable homage to Harvard’s subterranean steam tunnels, displayed in Tercentenary Theatre near University Hall during the 2022 Arts First Festival. by Amir Halabi GSD ‘24, Ian Erickson GSD ‘24, Jonathan Levine GSD ‘23, Leon Fong GSD ‘24, Justin McElderry GSD ‘24. Photo by Jake Belcher.