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Exhilarating Conclusion to the 2023 April Arts Festival


23AAF Contestants

On April 27, 2023, the Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab hosted its annual April Arts Festival forstudent creatives state-wide. Five student finalists had five minutes to pitch and five minutes to answer questions from a panel of professional judges, in order to win up to $5000 for their creative artwork which included physical art, virtual ideas, and writing samples.

This competition serves as an opportunity for students to promote and create their artistic styles. The judges' panel consisted of five business professionals from WVU– Elizabeth Yeager, JennaGreen, Liz Pavlovic, Cody Kerns, and Adam James Payne. The judges provided insightfulfeedback and questions for the participants throughout the competition to better their conceptsand artistic abilities.
The five participants included:

1. Justin Borak, an actor/comedian/podcaster, created a podcast entitled “This Is GonnaWork” and requested funding for studio equipment.

2. Koltin Davis, a creative writer, conceptualized a podcast/short story called “Angel’sGulch: I Do” and pitched for technological assistance for the podcast component of the project.

3. Zachary Morphew, a photographer/graphic designer/content creator, created a novel/interactive set for his novel entitled “Ouse, Virginia” and requested to create a set for the story’s interactive component.

4. Christian Rhen, a freelance composer/musician asked the judges for funding to start up his own production collaboration, “It’s CJ Time” with seven artists.

5. Aiden Rimmer, an artist for Aiden’s Inks, desired to expand his art skills with more materials.

All students were awarded funding for their creative designs. From highest to lowest awards,Christian Rhen was awarded $1750 while Justin Borak received $1500. Zachary Morphew received $850, Aiden Rimmer received $500, and Koltin Davis was awarded $400. There was a two-way tie for the popular vote between Zachary Morphew and Christian Rhen. Congratulations to all participants who submitted their creative concepts.