About First Night® and First Night Monterey

The Mission

The mission of First Night Monterey, Inc. is to bring families together and unite our community in all its diversity through the visual and performing arts, to foster the public’s appreciation of visual and performing arts and to celebrate families and community through workshops and the New Year‘s Eve celebration. First Night Monterey Mission Statement: To reveal and celebrate diversity through the First Night Monterey celebration and the First Night ArtWorks! program, using art as a catalyst to unify the community through creativity, imagination and participation.First Night Monterey, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and a member of First Night International.  Programs are designed to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds and to broaden and deepen public appreciation of the arts. The centerpiece of First Night Monterey is our alcohol-free celebration on New Year's Eve in downtown Monterey.

Organizational History
FirstNight USA

The First Night concept was created in 1976 by a group of citizens in Boston. The tremendous success year after year now inspires millions in over 200 cities throughout the U.S., Canada and beyond. First Night is a registered trademark of First Night International.

Founded in 1992, First Night Monterey (FNM) was founded by Paulette Lynch and  started with a group of artists and Monterey Peninsula residents who wanted a creative alternative to the traditional New Year’s Eve revelry. Paulette came to Monterey from the Boston area, and brought the First Night model she knew in Boston, to Monterey. First Night Monterey premiered with First Night Monterey 1993 on December 31, 1992 to wide acclaim.

Profile of The Family Arts Celebration

Today thousands of residents and tourists alike rate all the programs very highly. They talk enthusiastically about the spirit of joy and hope that makes First Night so valuable to them and their families. Our volunteer core has grown from 50 to 500; the audience has grown from 9,000 to 40,000; and participation as a performing or visual artist becomes more competitive each year. First Night Monterey has won awards for promoting the arts, building community, and creating innovative programming. In twenty years, FNM has grown from a one day arts event into a celebration of the creativity and diversity of our community.  FNM is ranked 5th in venue size and audience among 139 First Nights by First Night International.

• We were the Official Millennium Celebration for Monterey County
• Wide variety of musicians, dancers, singers, poets, and more
• Classical, folk, jazz, children's, rock and world music and dance
• Performances, exhibits and arts activities from 3 PM to midnight
• 50 venues downtown -- indoors, outdoors and historic sites
• Multicultural in all respects -- sharing traditions and visions for the future
• Carefully selected, high quality presentations
• Welcoming atmosphere for people of all ages and abilities
• Affordable, accessible, and alcohol-free celebration of New Year's Eve
• Over 40,000 children and adults expected this year - our 20th year!

ArtWorks! - FNM Outreach Workshops

First Night Monterey works in collaboration with local organizations, schools, libraries, youth, families, young adults and seniors to schowcase our culture and community through the arts. Professional artists lead these 30-hour workshops throughout Monterey County during the year.

We work to find ways to fully engage our students and audience and to show them how the arts enrich their lives and their communities.  In recent years, a number of innovative collaborations brought poetry and visual arts workshops to the migrant farm worker community, free arts workshops to the people at community gatherings in Salinas, Greenfield and Gonzales, and brought eleven local arts organizations to the Celebration, offering them an unprecedented opportunity to reach new audiences and to enrich the programming at the event.   These partners included: Arts Council for Monterey County; Artistas Unidos: Big Sur Arts Initiative; Big Sur Spirit Garden; City of Monterey; City of Salinas; Monterey History and Art Association; Monterey Museum of Art; Poder Popular, and Spector Dance. Read more about ArtWorks!

Community Feedback

"Once again, on behalf of the City Council, the citizens of Monterey, and every person who has attended First Night Monterey, we thank you for building a stronger and healthier community through the arts, for strengthening families, for uniting our community, for making our community a better place, and lastly, for giving us a celebration that stays within our hearts throughout the entire year." - Mayor Dan Albert, City of Monterey  

"Best year. We saw Broadway, Parade, Monterey Brass, Opera, Golden Bough, Feynman. All did a wonderful job!" - P. Little, Carmel

"We have been attending First Night in Monterey and Santa Cruz (split about evenly) for the past ten years. We thought the entertainment we saw last night was the best ever. Thanks for the great choices." - L. and R. Cooper, by email


Help us in our mission to bring the arts to underserved communities in Monterey County. First Night Monterey is a 503(c)(3) organization and your donations are fully tax-deductible.


Contact Us

First Night Monterey

Office: 542 Archer Street, Monterey, CA
Mail: P.O. Box 185, Monterey, CA 93942
Phone: 831.373.4778
Fax: 831.642.9860
email: info[at]firstnightmonterey[dot]org

Keep in Touch

      © First Night Monterey 2014