MADfest 2017 impresses students 

By Megan Jones, Advertising Manager
West Liberty University’s Media Arts and Design Festival (MADfest) kicked off bright and early on Friday, April 10. High school students from all over the valley came up to campus for a day filled with the arts and a chance to show off their own talents. 
When arriving on campus, students are whisked away into the world of creativity. After grabbing their free shirt and a donut or two, students could experiment with multiple forms of media in the Boyle conference room in the ASRC. The Andy Warhol Museum sent a crew of print makers ready to teach hands-on print making techniques. Current art students at West Liberty also helped high school students make customizable buttons as well as books.
The festival was open to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors who could participate in The MADfest competition, which included the following categories: short film, digital imaging, electronic music, animation, illustration, mixed media, multimedia, photography, audio documentary, and video documentary. There was also a separate contest for college artists. 
MADfest director and West Liberty Professor Jim Haizlett was extremely pleased with the event. “This year’s MAD Festival was successful on every level. Many high school teachers tell me that their students wait all year with anticipation for this particular event. The awards ceremony allows students the chance to see their work on a big screen in a public setting, and those that win a category award are thrilled to meet and speak with the jurors in front of a live audience. Our workshops were excellent and our guest artists inspired the audience to pursue their dreams and make a career out of media arts,” Haizlett said. 
Devante Brown, a junior on the Hilltop, was lucky enough to win the Faculty Scholarship Award. He was humbled by the opportunity and said, “I was sitting there talking to Dr. Harder about how good the other nominees were, and then suddenly my name was called. I couldn’t have been more shocked. I was speechless, honestly.”
The competition had a panel of media arts professionals judge each entry, including WLU alumnus Jesse Lenz, who has illustrated for popular publications like Entertainment Weekly, The Atlantic, Popular Mechanics, and The New York Times.
After the awards ceremony, the high school students were invited to attend multiple workshops happening in the Fine Arts Building. 
This was WLU freshman Morgan Weidebusch’s first year helping out with MADfest. She said, “I loved the opportunity to get to attend the festival for the first time because I never had the chance to do so in high school. Also, free shirts are always cool!” 
“The only way this type of event can work is through the tireless dedication of the many volunteers,” said Haizlett, “from tech support, to registration, to teaching sessions, to logistics. We have a great team that works very well together, and this year was no exception.”
Although the 2017 festival took months of planning, hours of prepping the night before, and waking up before 6 a.m. to help your favorite art teacher, the overall day was a success! If you’re interested in seeing the art featured or learn more about the competition, please visit here.