Returning live to the Harvard campus for the first time in three years, Arts First is going big with in-person, hybrid, and livestreamed events at multiple venues over four days, April 28 through May 1.
Harvard’s annual arts festival will feature theater, dance, music, and spoken-word performances, along with interactive public art. The Harvard Art Museums also will kick off its inaugural monthly Harvard Art Museums at Night during the festival, on April 28. On the last Thursday of each month (holidays permitting), the museum drops its admissions charge for visitors from 5 to 9 p.m., with entertainment from DJs, musicians, and makers, and refreshments available for purchase from Jenny’s Café.
Arts First, which was held virtually the last two years, will kick off with the presentation of the 2022 Harvard Arts Medal to renowned musician, actor, and politician Rubén Blades, LL.M. ’85. The luminary of the salsa movement — who originally was going to be honored at the 2020 and then the 2021 festivals — will be featured in conversation with John Lithgow ’67, Art.D. ’05, in a ticketed event in Sanders Theatre.
“This year’s Arts First Festival has special meaning for us — particularly as we come into the season of spring and renewal,” said Jack Megan, director of the Office for the Arts and producer of the event. “During the period of remote learning, our students’ creative drive could not be slowed. It sparked an abundance of online art-making that lifted spirits and sustained a sense of community.