History and Legacy

Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein rehearsing for the first Creative Arts Festival (June 4, 1952)

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University

The creative arts were conceived as a significant foundational component of Brandeis University from its inception. When most educational institutions perceived the arts as a curricular frill, our university embraced art as an integral and essential part of a liberal arts education, a vibrant mode of scholarly inquiry, and a valued path to knowledge and understanding. Brandeis has always aspired to be a path-blazing hub where imagination and intellect unite, motivating and inspiring the highest potential of humankind.

At the first Festival of the Creative Arts in 1952, many of the greatest artists of the era came to campus to demonstrate their support for this stellar new institution, founded in 1948. Leonard Bernstein called it “a moment of inquiry for the whole world when civilization looks at itself, seeking a key to the future.” This remains true to this day. Art is still a key to the future.