Release Date: June 28,2017

High Arts Festival accepting entries through July 10

Expanded event includes new art genres, increased prize money and juried awards 

Visual artists, musicians and filmmakers are invited to showcase works in downtown Akron venues, with public and juried votes determining $24,000 in cash prizes. First place in each discipline receives a grand prize of $5,000. Runners up and juried selections each receive $1,000.

To engage Akron area residents and to elevate the Akron's arts community, the High Arts Festival is a result of expanding and transforming Akron Art Prize into a 23-day celebration of local artists and multidisciplinary art forms. The festival runs Sept. 15 through Oct. 7 in the Historic Arts and Northside Districts. Through an accessible and competitive process, populous and juried votes determine winners in 12 categories.

This transformation is possible through a Knight Arts Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) was among 19 winners nationwide and received $154,000 over two years to expand the event. The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, the philanthropic organization behind the creation of Akron Art Prize, continues to sponsor the High Arts Festival with additional support from Burton D. Morgan Foundation.

"Akron is seeing a resurgence in the arts, and the High Arts Festival is a wonderful way to showcase the region's artists who make Northeast Ohio such a vibrant place to live," said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation.

"We are delighted to see this celebration expand and grow for the betterment of Akron" said Rick Kellar, president of the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation.

The entry process is open until 11:59 p.m. on July 10. The cost to enter is $25 with applications for each genre available at higharts.org. Entrants must be 18 or older to apply.

The University of Akron will underwrite any UA student or group entry by sponsoring the $25 fee. All current UA students are welcome to enter. The School of Art at Kent State University also sponsors the application fee for students enrolled in the School of Art and any alumni who graduated from the School of Art within the last two years (June 2015-June 2017).

Visual Art
A visual art entry must be visual in nature and may not include performing arts. These entries will be showcased at Summit Artspace, and will be viewable on the High Arts Festival app and website. Summit Artspace will be open Thursdays through Saturdays from 12 to 7 p.m.

In addition to the cash prize, the visual art grand prize winner receives the honor of displaying his/her piece in the Akron Art Museum for one month following the festival.

Music
A music entry can be submitted by a solo/duo artist or a group and must be an original song by the musician or group who created it. Each act will be given the opportunity for a live 25 minute showcase during the festival at Jilly's Music Room, Musica and Uncorked on Thursdays through Saturdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Festival attendees can also listen to the music entries on the app and website.

The music grand prize winner also receives the opportunity to perform at Jilly's Music Room in a cabaret style performance, and the winning song will be broadcast on 91.3 The Summit during the month of October.

Film
A film entry must be an original film that is :60 seconds in length or less. Films will be shown at The Nightlight on Saturdays at 4 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. and also viewable on the app and website.

The grand prize winner in film also receives the honor of showing his/her film during a showcase party at The Nightlight in October or November. Winners from each genre will enjoy a two-day tour by bus to a to-be-determined city to learn from, be inspired by, and network with the local arts community.

Attendees vote for visual art, music and film entries using the mobile app or a kiosk inside each of the participating venues. Voting closes on Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. Voters must register in downtown Akron to activate the ability to vote.

Through added support from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, High Arts continues to offer valuable tools for artists to navigate the path to entrepreneurship. These include the updated app with artist name, title of entry, profile information, and links to websites and social media. Professional photography of visual art entries, studio recordings of musical entries and networking/educational opportunities are provided as well.

"For an amateur artist, this is a chance to get your work out there in front of people. For an experienced artist, this is the opportunity to lead and inspire the talent around you. For the public, this is a chance to soak in the soul of the city," said Suzie Graham, DAP's president and CEO.

For more information, contact Kelli Fetter, DAP director of engagement and events at 330-374-7676 or higharts@downtownakron.com. Further details are available at higharts.org. Artists and patrons are encouraged to follow High Arts Festival on facebook.com/highartsfestival and use the hashtag #HighArtsFest17 on Twitter and Instagram.