Festival of Arts & Ideas

our interdisciplinary tradition

Welcome to the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma’s Festival of Arts and Ideas. This event celebrates the connections between the creative arts, literature, history, politics, science, innovations in technology, and the development of ideas over time and across cultures. 

In keeping with the college’s mission and interdisciplinary academic philosophy, the liberal arts come to life on the stage as we invite the community to share these thought-provoking evenings with the best and brightest students in Oklahoma. These festivals are a collaboration of the faculty, students and staff at USAO and feature the work of our own artists along with selected prominent guest artists and educators.


For 2021, the festival has teamed up with the USAO Student Showcase to bring you this year's festival digitally. For five weeks, we will present a video from the festival and one from the student showcase, which will truly showcase the ARTS and IDEAS at USAO. 

blake morgan, still life

Alex Coleman, Original Poetry

Matthew Brooks, Getting Out the Vote

Coleen sovic, guilt by association

genevieve gordon, Masked Meanings


In the Fall of 2007, USAO began a series called “The Five B’s,” a sequence of interdisciplinary weeklong festivals highlighting the work of five composers and examining their immense influence. The phenomenal success of the Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Bartok and Bernstein Festivals inspired a reinvention of the Festival. 

The newest incarnation of this concept is an event that takes place each year, featuring lectures, discussions, exhibits, readings, performances of music and live dramatic presentations that are inspired by, or interpretations of, a central theme. The “ideas” at the core of each festival encourage a journey of exploration that takes the audience through time and over a broad cultural and physical geography. 


The Five B’s Festival of Music and Ideas: Highlighting the work of five different composers and exploring 

the world surrounding them.

Bach Fall 2007

Beethoven Spring 2008

Brahms Summer 2008

Bartok Fall 2008

Bernstein Spring 2009

Fall 2009

Mendelssohn & Romanticism: A look at the Romantic creative vision featuring the music of Felix Mendelssohn in the year of his 200th birthday.

Spring 2009

Africa: An exploration of Native African arts and culture and Africa’s influence in America.

Fall 2010

The Creative Process: Creative musical performances along with an examination of the history and psychology of creativity and its role in various disciplines. 

Spring 2011

Fostering Creativity: An examination of the role that feedback plays in shaping creative outcomes as well as the environments that are most conducive to its development and refinement.

Fall 2011

The Great Minds: A celebration of the great minds that impress, influence and inspire us and, through their impact, reshape the way we see the world and, in some cases, the course of history.

Spring 2012

Contemplating Beauty: Considering the ways that the human concept of “beauty” has made an impact on culture and our relationship to the world over the course of millennia.

Fall 2012

The Body Politic: Looking across the disciplines at the ways the political process is shaped by the physical experience of being human.

Spring 2013

Storytelling: Examining the role that stories play in our lives and in our culture to expose the hidden processes that give us meaning, purpose and identity.


Polymath: Celebrating the people, ideas and movements that crossed disciplines and changed the world.


Fun & Games: Celebrating the different roles fun and games play in our individual and social development.


From the Mountaintop: Celebrating progress in social justice.

Fall 2016

What Makes Us Laugh: Exploring and celebrating the comical aspects of life.


Our Beautiful Planet: Examining and appreciating the beautiful planet we call home. 


Mysteries & Mysticism: A unique, one-night learning experience exploring historic and contemporary mysteries and mysticism from around the globe.


Interaction: Exploring the various ways in which different things affect, or change, each other.


Pop Culture in Media: Exploring pop culture in media throughout the decades. 

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