Since its inception as the School of Music, Drama, and Fine Arts in 1949, the School of Creative Arts has sought to raise awareness, increase interaction, and affirm the value of the performing, visual, and cultural arts at Brandeis University. The school offers a variety of programs at the undergraduate, post- baccalaureate, graduate, and doctoral levels in order to promote cultural growth. It has continued its dedication to its Music, Theater, and Fine Arts departments while expanding to include programs of creative writing and film studies.
ArtsFest was conceived of as a way to introduce the arts at Brandeis to the community each fall. The first ArtsFests were held in September and November of 1997, organized jointly by the Festival of the Arts Planning Committee and the Office of Arts and Sciences. It was scaled back the next year and held once each fall until the final event in 2002.
The Beaux Arts Ball was first held in the spring of 1954 to raise funds for the School of Creative Arts. Decorator Alfred Duca was placed in charge of the Somerset Hotel's aesthetics, and the event was successful as a fundraiser and artistic showcase. Although it was originally conceived to be an annual event, the Ball was held periodically in later years.
The Festival of the Creative Arts began in 1952 in conjunction with the completion of the Ullman Amphitheater. The first Festival established itself as a landmark by attracting renowned creative artists such as Leonard Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, Aaron Copeland, Merce Cunningham, and Lotte Lenya to contribute original works and performances to the event. Subsequent Festivals have been held yearly in the spring, and have continued to showcase the talents of well-known artists and participating students. In 2005 the name of the festival was changed to the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts in honor of it's creator, and beloved American composer and Brandeis faculty member.