After 23 days and thousands of votes, winners of The High Arts Festival visual arts, film and music categories were announced at the finale celebration on Oct. 7.
Participants, friends and family members gathered at the Akron Art Museum to learn the winners of $24,000 in cash prizes.
Frederick Shortridge is the grand prize winner in the visual arts category for “Redemption, Ascension and Liberation” and receives $5,000 and the honor of displaying his piece in the Akron Art Museum for one month.
Angel Reed is the grand prize winner in the film category for the film “I am My Sister’s Keeper,” also winning $5,000, and her film screened during a showcase party at the Nightlight Cinema. In the music category, Shelby Denton is awarded the grand prize for the song “More Than Ink,” and receives $5,000 and the opportunity to perform at Jilly’s Music Room in a cabaret style performance.
Additional runners up prizes in each category in the amount of $1,000 each were also awarded: In visual arts, the 2D runner up is Kevin Smalley for “Beneath the Full Moon” and the 3D runner up is Megan Shane for “The Forest-Fire Pit Globe.”
In film, G.S. Schray is the fiction runner up for “Drift of No Concern” and Marc Biss is the non-fiction runner up for “Shepard’s Pie.” In the music category, Gretchen Pleuss is the solo/duo runner up for the song, “Waves Like Drums” and The Dreemers is the group runner up for the song, “Feelin’ Fine.”
For the second year, a juried vote component is included for each of the genres made up of arts and civic representatives. Each juried winner also receives $1,000.
The visual arts jury included Elizabeth Carney, assistant curator for the Akron Art Museum and Matthew Kolodziej, professor at The Mary Schiller Myers School of Art at The University of Akron. This group selected Jenniffer Omaitz for “Indelible.”
The film jury is made up of Anthony Fanelli, director of “Akron Holy War”; Gabriel Giralt, professor in the School of Communication at The University of Akron; and Ilenia Pezzaniti, producer at Pritt Entertainment Group. The juried winner selected is Jonathan Chiarle for “Morning.”
Music jurors are Malcolm X Abram, pop music writer for the Akron Beacon Journal; Tim Daugherty, program director at WONE 97.5 FM; and Sue Wilson, VP operations at Rubber City Radio Group and program director at WQMX 94.9FM. This group selected Jul Big Green for “Getaway.”
All three grand prize winners and the juried prize winners will go on a two-day bus tour to Detroit to learn from, be inspired by and network with the local arts community.
To engage Akron area residents and to elevate the Akron arts community, the High Arts Festival expanded from Akron Art Prize into a 23-day celebration of local artists and multiple art forms. This was possible through a Knight Arts Challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that spans two years. The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, the philanthropic organization behind the creation of Akron Art Prize, continues their support of the High Arts Festival.
The festival ran Sept. 15 through Oct. 7 at Summit Artspace, The Nightlight, Jilly’s Music Room, Musica and Uncorked Wine Bar. A total of 117 visual art entries, 23, 60-second film entries and 33 musical entries were received.
As part of the Knight Arts Challenge grant, High Arts Festival will add the category of non-musical performing art to the 2018 event.
The mission of Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) is to promote and build a vibrant and valuable downtown. DAP is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing people, activity, business and a thriving civic life to the heart of Akron. Through strategic marketing, clean and safe programs and management of downtown’s resources, DAP works to promote downtown as a gathering place in the center of our community.