Office for the Arts at Harvard

Jack Megan, Director
Main Office: 74 Mt. Auburn Street
Tel. 617-495-8676, Fax. 617-495-8690

The Office for the Arts at Harvard (OFA) supports student engagement in the arts and serves the University in its commitment to the arts. Through its programs and services, the OFA fosters student art making, connects students to accomplished artists, integrates the arts into university life, and partners with local, national, and international constituencies. By supporting the development of students as artists and cultural stewards, the OFA works to enrich society and shape communities in which the arts are a vital part of life.

Visiting Artists Programs

Learning From Performers

A multi-disciplinary artist residency program, which annually invites fifteen to twenty professional artists or artist ensembles to work directly with students in workshops, master classes, productions, and full-scale residencies lasting anywhere from a few hours to months. The emphasis of the program is direct student participation in the creative process, working with professional artists of extraordinary caliber. Past Learning From Performers visitors have included, among many others, music artists Bonnie Raitt, Bobby McFerrin, Randy Newman, and Barenaked Ladies; instrumentalists Itzhak Perlman, Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma '76, and Daniel Barenboim; composers Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz; playwrights Tony Kushner, Christopher Durang, and Paula Vogel; actors Mel Gibson, Whoopi Goldberg, Alec Baldwin, and Sam Waterston; multi-media artist DJ Spooky; and, in collaboration with OFA’s Dance Program, choreographer Mark Morris.

Silk Road Project

A cultural exchange founded by cellist Yo-Yo Ma to study the global circulation of music along the fabled Silk Road. The Silk Road Project consists of musicians from around the world who share their musical ideas—both traditional and innovative—through performances, recordings, university and museum residencies, and workshops. In September 2005 the Silk Road Project inaugurated a five-year collaboration with Harvard through the Office for the Arts and the Department of Music, which serve as the Project’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences hosts and assist in the development of its wide-ranging artistic and educational scope at the University. Undergraduates, as well as the broader Harvard community, are welcome to participate.

Public Art Program

Public spaces are explored by the commissioning of new work at Harvard from emerging or established artists. Together students and the artist pursue the meaning of and possibilities for art and civic engagement. Students may collaborate with artists, participate in educational forums, or visit project sites in the Boston area. Visiting artists have included Sanford Biggers, Brian Knep, Lee Mingwei, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and Mags Harries.

Jazz Program

Connects students to masters of this uniquely American art form through lecture-demonstrations, clinics, rehearsals, and performances. Visiting Artists recently honored for their significant contributions to American music include Benny Golson, Jim Hall, Eddie Palmieri, Jon Hendricks, Hank Jones, Geri Allen and Steve Kuhn ’59. Some visitors are designated as "Jazz Master in Residence at Harvard University."

Visiting Director Program

Sponsored by the Office for the Arts, American Repertory Theatre, and Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club, provides undergraduates opportunities to work with an exceptional professional director on the Loeb Drama Center or New College Theatre.

Instructional Programs

Dance Program

Offers professional instruction in ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, tap, and other forms to more than 350 undergraduates during the academic year. Mentoring for student choreographers and learning professional repertoire are a focus. Courses are taught in the Harvard Dance Center and the Director’s Studio. Artist residencies and master classes have included Trey McIntyre, Seán Curran, and Jeff Shade. Students also perform in and/or choreograph for two Dance Program concerts annually. The best of new student choreography is presented at the American College Dance Festival. Courses for credit in Dance are offered through the Committee on Dramatic Arts, which offers a secondary field in the study of theater and dance.

Ceramics Program

The Ceramics Program is located in a fully equipped professional studio/study center in Allston (near the football stadium). The core strengths are its excellent courses and instructors, visiting artist demonstrations, and innovative interdisciplinary seminars. Open to Harvard students, faculty, and staff, as well as the public, at minimal fees year-round. Clay All Night parties and Drop-In sessions are very popular with undergraduates. A large show and sale of work is presented every December and May.


The OFA oversees and supports the activities of eleven major professionally-led choral and instrumental ensembles, including the Harvard University Bands (comprised of the Harvard University Band, Jazz Bands, and Wind Ensembles); Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra; Harvard Pops Orchestra; Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra; Mozart Society Orchestra; Kuumba Singers of Harvard College; and Holden Chapel Choirs (includes the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, Harvard Glee Club, Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus, and Radcliffe Choral Society).

Figure Drawing

A weekly class taught by award-winning painter Jon Imber. Students work primarily from models and benefit from individual and group critiques.

Student Support Services


Under the aegis of the Council on the Arts, a faculty committee, OFA administers approximately 100 grants annually to support projects in the arts involving nearly 2,500 undergraduates. Guidelines, applications, and deadlines are available at

Artist Development Fellowships

Administered by the OFA and the Office of Career Services (OCS), this program provides funding to select undergraduates who demonstrate evidence of significant artistic accomplishment and/or promise at a critical stage in their artistic development.

Music Lesson Subsidies Program

Provides financial support to full-time undergraduates for individual voice and instrumental lessons. Subsidies are awarded annually in October on the basis of financial need and demonstrated music ability and/or potential.

Music Teacher Referral File

Helps connect students with qualified music instructors in the Boston/Cambridge area. Teacher listings are available at:

Technical Theater Support

Provides hands-on professional training and support for nearly 60 student drama productions annually.

Harvard Box Office

A full-service resource for student performing groups. Its staff advises students in ticketing, marketing, and sales, as well as accounting standards and event management. The Box Office tickets approximately 550 events annually.

Facilities Management

The Office for the Arts manages a variety of important arts spaces, including Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall, Lowell Lecture Hall, Agassiz Theatre, New College Theatre, Harvard Dance Center, Ceramics Studio, and the Director’s Studio. As part of its management services, OFA provides instruction on production planning and implementation at all venues.

A Go-to Center for Arts Information at Harvard

Project Planning and Career Consultation

Office for the Arts, comprising specialists in all arts fields, advises students on such topics as exploring arts opportunities at Harvard, creating new work, making connections both within and outside of the University, and careers in the arts. The OFA also collaborates with the Office of Career Services to present seminars and other special events devoted to careers in the arts.

Information Sources: both in print or online:

Arts Policy Forum

Addresses current issues in the arts by engaging leading public figures in lectures and discussions; past participants have included former National Endowment for the Arts chairs and Michael Kaiser, President of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as artists such as James Taylor, Mandy Patinkin, and John Guare. Students are encouraged to suggest topics.

Community Arts Partnerships

Fosters connections among arts and cultural organizations within Harvard and between Harvard and the Boston/Cambridge community. Students are encouraged to join; three meetings are held each academic year.


The Office for the Arts produces a four-day student arts festival each year during the first weekend of May, which is the culmination of a year’s worth of undergraduate arts activity. This festival is sponsored by Harvard’s Board of Overseers and features the work of over 2,000 students in hundreds of concerts, plays, dance performances, and exhibitions.

Contact Information

For more information on the Office for the Arts and its programs, visit our Website or email, or call the main office at 617-495-8676.