Hundreds of participants will soon be evaluated by industry professionals for a chance to win cash and prizes. If it sounds like one of those famous televised talent searches, it’s not.
It’s actually been around a lot longer.
Heritage Arts Center Association will host its 31st annual Spotlight on Talent on March 29 at Wesley Chapel High School. The auditions to see who will make the finals will take place March 1, with applications due no later than Feb. 13.
The contest is open to children of any age through high school seniors, and includes any kind of performance talent. Heritage Arts Center is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the performing and visual arts. And according to Barbara Friedman, the event’s producer and a Heritage board member, the organization wants to give children who have those talents the kind of notoriety and recognition normally reserved for student-athletes.
“There’s a lot of ways that the children talented in sports get recognition (with) lots of awards banquets and newspaper coverage,” she said. “I think the arts are equally important, even though different, and so I want these children who have spent so much time and effort to be rewarded.”
Getting children recognition is a complicated and expensive process for Heritage Arts, Friedman said. Every applicant is invited to perform in front of a panel of five judges, each a respected professional in a discipline of the arts. Those who score the highest will move on to the finals, which will be in two shows, divided based on age.
Those shows also will be judged by a similar panel, but with an audience in attendance as well. Winners at those events will receive $150 and a trophy for first place, with other top finishers receiving money as well.
In all, more than $4,000 in cash and prizes will go to the winners. Figuring in the costs of paying the judges and renting the venue, Heritage Arts will spend more than $14,000 on the event, Friedman said.
The organization recoups that money by attracting sponsors, selling tickets to the final shows, as well as a $40 application fee.
The prize money includes a $1,000 scholarship awarded to a graduating senior and Pasco County resident, which was added last year. The first winner, Pasco High School’s Shelby Martin, sang and danced at the 2013 event. She now attends Florida State University where she studies communications and sociology.
The contest is open to both individuals and groups — with an additional $5 fee per extra performer — and not restricted to residents of any particular area.
For more information and to apply by the Feb. 13 deadline, visit HeritageArts.org.
Published Feb. 12, 2014