The schedule for Harvard’s annual ARTS FIRST festival has been announced. As the icon indicates, the festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and this year’s recipient of the Harvard Arts Medal is none other than John Lithgow. As his papers are held by the Harvard Theatre Collection, we are planning a small exhibition to celebrate the occasion. Although obviously best known for his work on the stage and screen, Lithgow is also a talented artist who has produced a range of works over the course of his career (see this recent gift to Jimmy Fallon). It seems to be something of a tradition for him to create and distribute an artwork to the crew when various productions wrap, and several of these entertaining illustrations will be featured in the exhibition. John Lithgow: Actor as Artist will be on display at Houghton Library from April 25-July 29.
As noted in a post by Peter Accardo on our main blog, Houghton Library first opened its doors on January 3, 1942 to allow Harvard library staff to preview their new building. At the dedication ceremony the following month, benefactor Arthur Amory Houghton, Jr. expressed the hope that the library would be “fuel for the fire of learning.” Houghton Library has certainly worked hard to fulfill this charge, and this year we are celebrating our 75th anniversary with a whole host of programs and events. Information about all that’s happening can be found at our new Houghton 75th website. Our main exhibition at the moment features materials selected by Harvard faculty, which include John Keats’ copy of Shakespeare, ephemera relating to Bert Williams, and the famed Cranach Press edition of Hamlet.