A Look into the 15th Annual MADfest

By Ian Beabout

Friday, April 10th, 2015 marked the 15th annual Media Arts and Design festival (MADfest), which was held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival will took place on campus and involved 26 workshop sessions, presentations from professionals in the field of media design, and a student awards ceremony held in College Hall.

The awards ceremony was presented by MADfest Director and Professor of Graphic and Digital Media Design, Jim Haizlett and was judged in categories that include Film, Digital Imaging, Electronic Music, Animation and Illustration, Photography, and Graphic Design to name a few.              

“We want the event to be interactive, inspiring and a showcase of the creativity and talent on campus,” said Brian Fencl, Professor of Art and Art Department Chair. “The workshops span the range of broadcast, music technology, printmaking, collage, prosthetics, documentary film and illustration. There is something for everyone.”

“When originally created it was a competition for University students from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It was a platform to showcase the quality work West Liberty students were creating and to highlight the changing technologies used in the design field,” said Fencl. The MADfest now has extended the competition to students in area high schools to enter, as well, with prizes such as iPads and scholarships offered to the winners of the competition.

In addition to the main competition, the MADfest offered a variety of sessions taught by professionals and WLU professors in many aspects of media arts. The sessions were held throughout the Media Arts Center, and include topics such as making a living as an artist, electronic sound, storytelling, stage makeup, and 3D animation. These professionals, who also served as judges, were selected by Director of Music Technology and College of Arts and Communications Interim Dean, Dr. Matthew Harder, Fencl and Haizlett.

“The idea is to find experts in their field, innovators in media, art and design and people who are excited about working with students,” said Fencl. “It comes down to personal connections, recommendations from past jurors and suggestions from students.”

The main event was be preceded by two special pre-festival events on Thursday the 9th, including a screening of Hard Way Home, a film by MADfest presenter and juror Kori Feener. The film will be shown at 6 p.m. Thursday night before the MADfest in the College Union and details a 28-year-old woman’s struggle hiking the Appalachian Trail. 

Also on the program was a live as a set from WLU’s very own Electronic Music Ensemble.