Release Date: September 14,2017

New High Arts Festival kicks off on Sept. 15 with visual art, music and film entries

Event enhanced to include multidisciplinary art forms through a Knight Arts Challenge grant

To engage Akron area residents and to elevate the Akron 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 multiple art forms. The festival runs Sept. 15 through Oct. 7 in five downtown Akron venues in the Historic Arts and Northside Districts. Through an accessible and competitive process, populous and juried votes determine winners in 12 categories and $24,000 in cash prizes.

This transformation is possible through a Knight Arts Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Downtown Akron Partnership 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 their support of the High Arts Festival with assistance from Burton D. Morgan Foundation.

Voting begins Sept. 15 at 5 p.m. and closes Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. and over 23 days, guests can experience a total of 173 works of art. Summit Artspace houses 117 visual art entries open for viewing Thursdays through Saturdays from 12 to 7 p.m. Visual art entries are comprised of paintings, photography, collage, graphic design, sculpture and more . A total of 23 60-second fiction and non-fiction film entries will be screened at the Nightlight on Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. and Sundays at 6:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. On closing weekend, Oct. 7, films times are 1 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. Musical entries will be performed by 33 solo/duos and groups on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at Jilly's Music Room, Musica and Uncorked Wine Bar from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Prize levels have been restructured with the addition of the new genres and now totals $24,000. The overall winner in each category receives $5,000. Each genre also has two runners up prizes and a juried prize, each awarding $1,000. Grand prize winners from each genre will also be provided with a two-day tour by bus to a city-to-be-announced to learn from, be inspired by and work with the local arts community.

Voting
The fastest and easiest way to vote is with the High Arts Festival app, available for free for Apple and Android devices. The app provides all artist entry details, photo and descriptions, and the ability to view or listen to film and music entries. The app may be downloaded and viewed anywhere, but attendance in the event footprint is required to enable voting. Once a vote has been cast in the footprint, or a check in has been enabled, voting can take place from any location.

Each registered voter, age 16 and older, has up to five votes in each genre. Voters who cast all five votes and complete a short survey will unlock a sixth vote and be entered into a drawing to win a $100 gift card to the downtown Akron business of his or her choice. Voting kiosks are also available in each venue.

Special Events
An opening night reception is Sept. 15 from 5:30 to 10 p.m. outside of Summit Artspace. Activities include a cash bar, food trucks, live painting, music and dancing, plus visual art entries in Summit Artspace. Live performances by Ozone and Umojah Nation, and Deep House Discotech by DJ Mind-E, DJ Naeno and DJ Moonhawk presented by TVTX Productions are also scheduled.

On Sept. 29 from 6:30-10 p.m., Knight at the Museum will take place in the Bud and Susie Rogers Garden of the Akron Art Museum. Live performances from High Arts musicians and an outside screening of the High Arts film entries are scheduled. The highlight of the evening is the public art event The Optics of Memory from 9 to 10 p.m. Organizers Diane Davis-Sikora and 2011 Guggenheim Fellow Kasumi will present an outdoor, interactive experience including a live audio-visual performance by Kasumi. Kasumi's newest audio-visual installation and live performance, the Optics of Memory Experience is an eye-popping mix of vividly psychedelic imagery projected onto three massive screens and hypnotic, immersive electronic music amplified through a state-of-the-art sound system.

Celebrate with the community and artists at closing night at the Akron Art Museum on Oct. 7 from 4 to 7 p.m. Winners will be announced at 6 p.m. complete with music, food and entertainment. The finale reception is free and open to all.

Full details and exact performance times are at higharts.org or on Facebook, facebook.com/highartsfestival. Guests are encouraged to share High Arts experiences on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #highartsfest17.