Join Us for ARTS FIRST May 2-5



ARTS FIRST Festival: May 2-5
The most incredible arts weekend of the year!

Dear Harvard College Students,

Welcome to ARTS FIRST – Harvard’s four-day festival with more than 100 events created and produced by your classmates – and many others on campus. Fun and fast-paced, ARTS FIRST takes place in and around Harvard Yard and features every art imaginable: music, dance, visual arts, theater, poetry and so much more. Bring your friends. Bring your blockmates. Come for an hour. Come for the day. All are welcome!

Here’s the ARTS FIRST Guide. Check out the Saturday tab where you’ll find something new every 20 minutes. And wait until you see Harvard Yard – your backyard! – come alive with public art, music and more.

Here are highlights to give you a taste of the larger events at the festival.
Thursday May 2

  • Harvard Arts Medal Ceremony will honor U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith ‘94, with questions from Harvard poetry students at 4-5:30 p.m. in Agassiz Theatre. Free, but tickets required:

Friday May 3

  • Jazz on the Plaza features the students of Harvard Jazz Bands with guest saxophonist and flutist Don Braden ‘85, conducted by Yosvany Terry. Get your jazz on at 5:30 p.m. in the Science Center Plaza Tent. Free!
  • Sea Symphony combines Harvard choruses (so many of your friends!) onstage at once for an evening of vocal beauty at 8 p.m. in Sanders Theatre. Tickets:

Saturday May 4

  • Wake up fast with The Harvard Undergraduate Drummers – THUD – and the moves of CityStep during a cypher-like jam session, followed by the Harvard Pops Orchestra (playing Legend of Zelda and Star Wars – May the Fourth be with you!) at 11 a.m. at the Science Center Plaza Tent.
  • March along to the beats of Harvard University Band at 12:30 p.m. in the Plaza Tent.
  • Stay for the Performance Fair – with more arts than you can imagine, 1-5 p.m. in the Plaza Tent, at the Smith Campus Center and throughout Harvard Yard. Also: You become the artist at Make Art stations on the Plaza and in the Yard.
  • Kuumba Singers presents Love Train: A Journey through Black Love, 8 p.m. Sanders Theatre.

Sunday May 5

  • Enjoy Beyond Borders, a bold morning concert from Silkroad artists, Parker Quartet and student musicians of the Brattle Street Chamber Players at 11 a.m. in the Smith Campus Center.
  • 1812 Overture. With Kazoos. And balloons. You participate. Join in at 3 p.m. in Tercentenary Theatre, Harvard Yard.
  • Pakistani pop sensation Ali Sethi ’06 joins with his mentor Professor Ali Asani ’77 and musicians for The Convenant of Love: The Poetry, Music and Spirituality of South Asian Muslim Cultures about the transformative power of love and mystic poets, 7 p.m. in Sanders Theatre. Find out more here.

Bonus! ARTS FIRST Allston offers a full lineup of extraordinary programming during the festival days. Cross the river. Find more arts. Check out Allston here.


Rakesh Khurana
Danoff Dean of Harvard College