Neil Hampton will conduct the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra on Thursday, April 29 at 8 p.m.
WALTHAM — Expanding a tradition begun 58 years ago, organizers of Brandeis University's annual Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts have commissioned an original work of public art.
Artist-in-residence Michael Dowling unveiled Wednesday evening his "Source/ReSource," a large-scale installation of copper, stone and water outside the Rose Art Museum.
Scott Edmiston, director of the Office of the Arts which organizes the five-day festival, said Dowling's site-specific installation exemplifies this year's festival theme, "Art is the Source."
Edmiston said two years ago festival producer Ingrid Schorr asked Dowling, a painter and artistic director of Medicine Wheel Productions in Boston, to create the first public art commissioned for the festival which Bernstein founded in 1952 for Brandeis' first commencement.
He said, "Michael is a perfect match for the festival because he has a sense of social justice and a great ability to engage the community through his art. I think 'Source/ReSource' will become the heart of the festival because it suggest this year's theme of finding connections to art."
Running from Wednesday evening through Sunday afternoon, the festival offers visual and performing arts including dance, music, puppetry and theater.
Edmiston said art featured in the festival "isn't just something you can hang on a wall."
"It's a happening about making connections with one another through 'Art (as) the Source."'
Edmiston said the festival is open to the public. "Art isn't reserved for people in ivory palaces," he said. "It's our primary town and gown event. Our doors are open. It says to Waltham and Greater Boston, 'Come and enjoy and be part of our community."'
The festival concludes 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday with several family friendly events. Throughout the afternoon, more than 200 singers, dancers, actors and musicians will perform on campus.
Other Sunday afternoon events include Big Nazo puppet performers, Sidewalk Sam and the Tanglewood Marionettes.
An acclaimed conductor and composer of "West Side Story," Bernstein served in Brandeis' Department of Music from 1951 to 1956. He organized the first arts festival in 1952 for the university's first commencement.
Edmiston said, "The purpose of the festival is to celebrate the creativity of the students and faculty of Brandeis because art is one of the core elements of the university's mission."
In 2005 the festival, which had been moved to the spring, was "renamed to honor Bernstein because he was its founding spirit," he said.
To learn about the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts at Brandeis University and see a schedule of events, visit www.brandeis.edu/arts/festival/.