Harvard University’s 24th annual ARTS FIRST festival, showcasing student and faculty creativity, will take place Thursday-Sunday, April 28-May 1, 2016. Sponsored by the Board of Overseers of Harvard College and produced by the Office for the Arts at Harvard with partners across the University, this year’s festival will feature more than 200 music, theater, dance, film, visual arts and multidisciplinary events at indoor and outdoor venues. From orchestral concerts to rock ‘n’ roll jams, stand-up comedy to storytelling, spoken word poetry and magic tricks, as well as hip-hop, a cappella, klezmer, beatboxing and more, all events are open to the public, most free of charge.
The festival’s signature Performance Fair will be on Saturday, April 30 from 1 to 5 pm. The Performance Fair features almost 100 free public performances and presentations every half-hour at eleven venues in and around Harvard Yard.
Other ARTS FIRST highlights include:
Thursday, April 28, 4 pm: Harvard Arts Medal Ceremony Honoring Architect Frank Gehry GSD ’57 ArD ’00, hosted by actor and Master of the Arts at Harvard John Lithgow ’67 ArD ’05; Arts Medal awarded to Mr. Gehry by President Drew Gilpin Faust. Farkas Hall, 10-12 Holyoke St. Admission free, tickets required.
Friday, April 29, 5:30-7 pm: Jazz on the Plaza featuring the Harvard Jazz Band conducted by Yosvany Terry, Visiting Senior Lecturer of Music and Director of Jazz Bands, with a special appearance by Tia Fuller, saxophonist and Berklee College of Music faculty member. Science Center Plaza Tent. Admission free (tickets/RSVPs not required); food and beverages will be available for purchase.
Saturday, April 30, 1-5 pm: Global Arts Showcase and Dance Fest, student cultural performance groups and dance ensembles in the Science Center Plaza Tent; and Make Art stations featuring immersive and interactive art-making activities—painting, origami, ceramics, theatricals and more—on the Science Center Plaza and Harvard Yard.
Sunday, May 1: Concert featuring the Silk Road Ensemble and Parker Quartet (Blodgett Artists in Residence, Department of Music), with student performers, 11 am-1 pm, Science Center Plaza Tent (admission free; food and beverages will be available for purchase); and Battle of the Bands featuring student rock and pop ensembles, 3-5 pm, Science Center Plaza Tent (admission free).
FREE ADMISSION to museums on Saturday, April 30, including Harvard Art Museums, Museum of Natural History, Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, Semitic Museum and Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments.