The Harvard University Band gathers on the Science Center Plaza for the opening concert.

Photos by Ke Tang

Campus & Community

Rite of spring

Exuberant Arts First celebrates on both sides of the river

2 min read

Visual and studio artists, musicians, filmmakers, and comedians staged a spectacular Arts First to weekend crowds that topped 15,000 over the festival’s four days. The annual campus rite of spring showcased everything from ancient Greek tragedy to contemporary pop soul with students and faculty celebrating creativity, beauty, identity, and the rich cultural diversity found throughout the arts.

In its 26th year, Arts First expanded its reach into Allston, with daylong events that included the unveiling of a mural by artist Paul Deo at the Ed Portal and a historic performance of “Antigone” in Harvard Stadium before a crowd estimated at 4,000. In Cambridge, the community enjoyed a performance by legendary pianist André Watts at Sanders Theatre, and a Performance Fair comprised of dozens of student groups on campus.

Actor John Lithgow ’67, Ar.D. ’05, delivers the welcoming address.

Visitors throng the Science Center Plaza.

The ’Cliffe Notes of the Radcliffe Choral Society perform on the Harvard Yard Stage. Harry Newman-Plotnick ’18 invites children on stage for his magic show.

Musicians included the Parker Quartet and the Silk Road Ensemble with the Brattle Street Chamber Players of Harvard College.

Members of the Harvard Capoeira Regional Club show off their moves at DanceFest.

Dancers fuse traditional and modern styles. Emily Brother ’19 and Bobae Johnson ’21 perform César Franck’s Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano at Memorial Church.

Actors rehearse for the production of “Antigone” in Harvard Stadium.

The “Antigone” set included 36 inflatable sculptures (some more than 10 feet in size). 

Cast members dance with masks.