West Virginia University today (Feb. 4) launched a statewide musical talent competition in an effort to promote the arts in the Mountain State.
Talent West Virginia, sponsored by WVU Medicine and WVU Health Systems, is open to West Virginia residents and college students attending a West Virginia institution. The competition has two categories - professional, for competitors 18 and up, and junior, for competitors 14 - 17.
“The arts have a major impact in the state of West Virginia, contributing to the economy, culture and community,” said Keith Jackson, dean of WVU’s College of Creative Arts. “Our goal with this competition is to celebrate engagement in the arts, while cultivating and developing their future.”
The first-round of Talent WV will be held online. Musicians can upload their audition videos to TalentWV.com and fans vote for their favorite acts. The online application and voting round is open through March 8. Twelve - 14 finalists will then be selected by a panel of judges to perform in the final round of the competition.
Finalists will perform live during the Talent WV Finals on April 6 at the Gluck Theatre in WVU’s Mountainlair. The contest is produced by Mon Hills Records, WVU’s student run record label.
“Talent West Virginia is not only a musical competition, but an educational opportunity for all involved,” Dean Jackson said. “From a competitor’s stand point, we’re giving them the same performance experience you would see on many of the popular, nationally-televised talent competitions, with the chance of winning beneficial prizes and recognition. For our students, they gain insight on how to produce a major talent competition, preparing them for their future in the music industry.”
National and local music industry professionals will judge the live performances and give feedback throughout the evening. Prizes will be awarded to the top professional performer, top junior performer and second place overall performer. Prizes include cash and recording deals with Mon Hills Records.
The competition is free to enter. Ticket sales from the live event on April 6 will help fund outreach programs in the College of Creative Arts, including West Virginia Public Theatre.
“The college annually provides arts education to thousands of West Virginians and as government allocations for this type of programming diminish, we must get creative in how we raise money to support these programs,” Jackson said. “We’re excited to produce this multi-faceted event that will ultimately further the arts throughout the state.
For more information on Talent WV, including complete rules and guidelines, and to enter, visit www.talentwv.com.