USAO News Bureau

New Festival of Arts/Ideas Celebrates Creativity

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The fourth Festival of Arts and Ideas (FAI) is scheduled Nov. 1-2 at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Faculty and guest artists will explore The Creative Process in this two day multidisciplinary event, organized much like previous FAI events at USAO and featuring music, art, drama, academic insights and more.

Both events are set in the USAO Ballroom at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free, as the series is underwritten by the USAO Foundation. Performers include each of the five musical groups at USAO, as well as faculty and special guests.

The theme ties perfectly to Oklahoma’s hosting of the World Creativity Forum in November. This international event will bring people from several dozen countries into Oklahoma City for speakers and presentations on creativity.

As Oklahoma’s public liberal arts university, USAO “has long encouraged creative approaches to teaching and learning,” says Dr. Dex Marble, a 25-year faculty member who left the university in 1997 for a law career, then returned this year as vice president for academic affairs.

“The Festival of Arts and Ideas is a completely ‘USAO kind of idea,’” says Marble, who himself performs classical piano, teaches history and encourages faculty to think creatively about every problem and discipline.

In this festival, musical guests include the USAO Concert Choir, the Keyplayers of USAO, a combo led by Joe Settlemires, composer Dr. Stephen Weber, and student Joshua Smith.

The continuing USAO series -- Festival of Arts and Ideas – followed the university’s two-year Five B’sFestival series led by renowned violinist Yuval Waldman, who conceived and performed in all five festivals with faculty, students and guests.

“Like the first series, our continuing FAI events have brought together diverse ideas and talents to examine a topic,” explains Dr. Michael Nealeigh, vice president for university advancement. “They’re fun, informative and out-of-the-box. Our festivals are perfect for audiences of all ages because they make learning so accessible, entertaining and interesting.

“The first five covered great composers, from Bach and Beethoven to Bernstein in the modern era,” Nealeigh said. “Next we examined the life and times of Felix Mendelssohn, composer of the familiar ‘Wedding March,’ and considered to be the modern Mozart. In spring 2010, we reveled in and learned from the music and culture of Africa, and this fall, we will evolve to study the larger issue of creativity.”

The next festival – in spring 2011 -- will expand on the topic and encourage “Fostering Creativity.”