Campus & Community

Fabulous annual festival of the arts begins Friday

2 min read

More than 100 free events open to public

Celebrating its 12th year, Arts First, Harvard’s annual celebration of Arts First logo students and faculty in the arts, lights up Harvard Square with performances, exhibits, and arts activities. Today, May 6, through Sunday, May 9, Harvard welcomes the public to over 225 music, theater, dance, film, and visual arts events (most free of charge). The festival is sponsored by the University’s Board of Overseers.

2004 Arts First Festival highlights include

  • A lively conversation, moderated by actor John Lithgow ’67, with this year’s

    See the
    Arts First Web site
    for a schedule of events

    Harvard Arts Medal recipient Yo-Yo Ma ’76, Grammy Award-winning cellist, with accompanying student performance and presentation of the Arts Medal by Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers. Previous recipients include filmmaker Mira Nair ’79, conductor William Christie ’66, author John Updike ’54, and the late actor Jack Lemmon ’47

  • An exuberant Arts First parade, culminating in a welcoming event in Harvard Yard
  • Performance fair with more than 100 free events in four hours at 12 sites concerts ranging from the 1812 Overture, with audience participation, to a celebration of music from the African diaspora
  • A film series celebrating Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu
  • Indoor and outdoor productions of theatrical works by Shakespeare, Chekhov, and others
  • Outdoor stage and bandfest at Holyoke Center in the heart of Harvard Square
  • A dance festival, drumming, public art, and moreNew York Times arts critic and Harvard Overseer John Rockwell ’62 declares, “Arts First is remarkable, and remarkably fun. The sheer pleasure in tearing around the Yard and beyond in search of performances on a beautiful afternoon in early May is a genuine pleasure.””The arts are an enormous part of the undergraduate experience at Harvard, with approximately half of our 6,600 students participating in the joys and rigors of learning about and creating art,” says President Summers. “Whatever your artistic passion, you’ll find it in abundance at Arts First.”

    For more information on Arts First 2004, contact the Office for the Arts (617) 495-8676, or visit to confirm event schedule and check rain dates. For press information, call (508) 533-8311 or email All events are handicapped accessible.