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For First Time, Arts First Travels to Allston

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A student donning a blue Arts First t-shirt adds painting to a communal art display. Arts First is Harvard's annual art festival dedicated to promoting the arts.

Clad in a rainbow fur jacket, Harvard Graduate School of Education student Mo Kwok braved the wind and rain to perform during Arts First in Allston April 29.

Arts First, which lasted from April 26-29, is an annual showcase celebrating student art, which this year, for the first time in its 26-year-long history, expanded into Allston.

On Sunday, students had the option of trekking across the river to participate in events like a mural unveiling at the Ed Portal, a concert featuring Harvard students at The Grove, and a performance of “Antigone” at Harvard Stadium.

Muralist Paul Deo collaborated with Allston and Harvard students for months on the mural, which he named, “We Are One.”

Deo wrote in a March email to the students that the mural would depict, “a futuristic Allston blossoming in positive community utilizing green sustainable technologies.”

Deo wrote he believed that these concepts could “inspire,” “impact,” and “uplift” Allstonians. He hoped to convey the message that “we can survive together as one family” by using “the native beliefs and practices based on and grounded on the teachings learned from the natural world” and “the latest in green sustainable technologies.”

Ben Roy ’20, who produced “Antigone,” said the cast decided to hold the play in Harvard Stadium because it was “the closest thing we have at Harvard to an ancient amphitheater.”

“We wanted to have an area that would allow as many people to come as possible, and also to give that sense of age or time that an old amphitheater would bring,” Roy said.

Roy said he was “pleased” with the audience turnout. He noted that the stadium was close to the Harvard T station, and attendees had quick access to the bus shuttles and parking lots.

“I think there was enough excitement and hype around the event,” Roy said. “I think the only thing you could say reduced turnout would have been the cold.”

Isabella Shaw ’21 said it was “really unique” to see the show in the stadium, which usually houses sports games instead of arts performances.

“This was the only event I was able to go to for Arts First in Allston, but I’m definitely glad I was able to make it to at least one event,” Shaw said.

—Staff writer Jacqueline P. Patel contributed reporting.

—Staff writer Truelian Lee can be reached at truelian.lee@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @truelian_lee.

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