MAD Festival returns to WLU for 18th year

By Mimi Albon, Contributing Writer
You might have noticed the posters about MAD Festival around campus, especially if you are in the Fine Arts Building. MAD Festival stands for Media Arts and Design and is an event that is held once a year in the spring at West Liberty University. This year, it will take place on Friday, April 6.

The first part of the festival is the student competition. This is open to high schools around the area in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and to college students attending WLU. Up to $1000 is offered in scholarships and you can submit up to four entries for free. It can’t hurt you, so if you have any artworks go ahead and submit. Deadline for submission is March 10.
The second part of the festival is the workshops hosted by guest artists/judges and professors at WLU.
Do you remember that meme of the head-banging dove that took over the internet? If you loved it, you will be excited to know that one of the guest judges is the creator! Her name is Syd Weiler, and she currently lives in Wheeling, W.Va. She has created works for TIME Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and CreativeMornings.
Another judge is Pasquale Greco and he has been working in feature films since 2007. His visual effects can be seen in “Men in Black 3,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” and “Ant-Man.”
You might already know the next judge if you are involved in music at WLU. Jamie Peck is a multi-talented, Emmy winning composer, producer, performer, engineer and adjunct professor at West Liberty University. 
Last but not least, Andy J. Miller (otherwise known as Andy J. Pizza) is an illustrator and public speaker. His Creative Pep Talk Podcast has been featured by Apple, BuzzFeed and Threadless.
Meeting successful artists can be a huge benefit for college and high school students.
On the day of the festival,  busloads of high school students will arrive. This is an exciting day for them, as many of them had to wake up early to drive hours to our school and this may be one of the first college experiences for those students.
“I decided to go to [WLU] because I went to MAD Fest during high school. I appreciate how art is so integrated here,” said student Rachel Cecil.
The students’ day will start out by visiting the ASRC Gym, where they will get a free t-shirt and complimentary breakfast. Then, student volunteers will guide them to College Hall where there will be an award ceremony for the art competition. Winners are announced, and a panel of judges, professionals in the media arts, will critique the winning pieces.
“I’m working on my piece now and trying to get it done on time. I would like to try and get money,” said student Katherine Stamper. 
Any college student who submitted an artwork piece can attend as well, but unfortunately, the rest of the festival is for the high school students only.
Next, the students will go to the Fine Arts Building, where there will be fun and exciting art workshops that cover fine arts, digital art, music production, and more. Here students will have the opportunity to work with professors and guest artists and gain their knowledge through working with them.
“Our guest jurors perform a dual function for the event. They judge a high school and college competition of media art, and they present workshops related to their specialty,” said James Haizlett, MAD Festival Director. “Other great workshops are also conducted by many of the professors from the College of Art and Communications. Lou Karas and her faithful crew from the Center for Arts and Education are also huge contributors with behind the scenes organizing and implementation. It is truly a group effort.”
Although the festival is mainly for high school students, there are ways WLU students can participate too. There are many things to prepare before the festival, such as folding t-shirts and printing and posting signs.
A lot of help is needed to make this a successful and memorable event, so volunteers are greatly appreciated. As a thank you, you will receive a free t-shirt. It will be a line-art version of the monster from the poster, and it will be totally worth it.
If you are interested, you can email James Haizlett at [email protected] or Lou Karas at [email protected] 
Poster by Mimi Albon