Arts First festival celebrates Harvard’s creative community

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Harvard University’s 24th annual Arts First festival, showcasing student and faculty creativity, will take place Thursday-Sunday, April 28-May 1. 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, and stand-up comedy to storytelling, spoken word poetry, and magic tricks, as well as hip-hop, a cappella, klezmer, beatboxing, and interactive art-making opportunities, all events are open to the public, most free of charge and family-friendly.

The festival kicks off with the 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, on Thursday at Farkas Hall. Friday night will feature Jazz on the Plaza, and on Saturday the festival’s signature Performance Fair includes almost 100 free public performances and presentations every half-hour at 11 venues in and around Harvard Yard. Other highlights include the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra performing Stravinsky’s “Petrushka” and the Harvard Ballroom Dance Team in “Ballroom Gets Bold”—Viennese waltz, tango, salsa, and more, also on Saturday.

Arts First guides will be available at the Harvard Coop, 1400 Massachusetts Ave.; Harvard Box Office at Farkas Hall, 10 Holyoke St.; Harvard University Information Center, Dunster and Mt. Auburn streets; and Harvard Square Info Kiosk adjacent to the Harvard Square T station. More information: 617.495.8676.