Fun and games take over Festival Feb. 23, 24

This illustration, “The Music Lesson” by Johannes Vermeer, demonstrates how some artists have fun with the viewer by playing games and creating curiosity in their works. It will be part of one of the many presentations given at the 10th annual Festival of Arts and Ideas. This year’s theme will celebrate how fun and games play an important role in individual and social development. The Festival begins at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 and 24 in the Ballroom at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Fun and games take over Festival Feb. 23, 24


Although fun and games are typically associated with childhood play and leisure activities, they actually can be one of the most productive forms of education.

The 10th season of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s Festival of Arts and Ideas will explore and celebrate the different roles fun and games play in a person’s individual and social development.

The two-night festival begins at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 and 24 in the Ballroom at USAO.

The event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.

Through presentations, performances and interactive demonstrations, faculty, staff and students will explore and discover how fun and games help individuals effectively socialize and connect with the people around them.

Quan Tran, festival coordinator and assistant professor of mathematics, sees this year’s theme as a way to provide a fun and innovative way to discover how people interact socially with each other, while keeping with the college’s mission and interdisciplinary academic philosophy.

“We hope that this year’s festival will underscore the vital importance of the role fun and games play in our lives,” said Tran. “With this and with every festival USAO hosts, we invite the community to experience these thought-provoking evenings with us.”

On the first evening, J.C. Sanders, chair of the division of Science and Physical Education and professor of physics, will team up with Kate Sekula, special instructor of music, to present “Sphere Factor”, a game show with audience interaction. The audience will be quizzed and given demonstrations pertaining to spherical objects from popular pastimes.

Jordan Danser, a mathematics major and music minor student from Chickasha, will present “Yo Momma’s So…: An Analysis of Trash Talking.” His discussion will be a reflective overview of trash talk including its history, its development in modern culture, general patterns of trash talk, and a summary of a study on trash talking published in the Journal of Applied Sociology.

In a presentation called “Getting Social with Lego©,” Karen Karner, director of the John A. Morris Speech and Language Clinic and instructor of speech-language pathology, and Linda McCoy, speech language pathology instructor, will enlighten the audience in the use of Lego© modeling as a therapeutic application when working with children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The first evening will be emceed by John Paul Cook, assistant professor of mathematics, and Christopher Garneau, assistant professor of sociology.

The second evening will open with “Now Playing,” an introduction to gaming techniques that composers have historically utilized in the compositional process. Stephen Weber, chair of the division of Arts and Humanities and professor of music, will present three compositions he has written and then challenge the audience to participate in a musical listening game.

Cord Courtney, a theatre arts student from Blanchard, will be presenting “What Gamers Want,” a look into what a true “gamer” is, and, based on video games sales and behaviors, how a gamer thinks and what they want in new and innovative video games. Courtney’s talk will show how culture and Internet popularity defines the direction gamers take when purchasing games.

Three professors in science-related fields will team up to present “Playing a Dangerous Game: Epidemiology and the Spread of Infectious Disease.” Rachel Jones, assistant professor of biology; Jeannette Loutsch, associate professor of biology; and Leah Oxenford, lab coordinator, will facilitate an interactive game with the audience in which they will model the spread of infectious disease through the population. The intent of their presentation is to raise awareness of how easily an infectious disease can spread within a community.

Dan Hanson, professor of music, and Rhenada Finch, accompanist for the Memory Makers Band of Lindsay and former festival coordinator and USAO staff accompanist, will emcee the second evening.

This event will provide professional development hours for public school teachers each evening.

The festival is sponsored by the USAO Foundation and received a generous endowment from the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma.

For more information please call 574-1276.

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