This past Friday, Hopeloft hosted our first virtual open mic night, sharing local talent while both highlighting nonprofits in our community and raising money for a charitable cause. The event aired on our Facebook page at 6 p.m. on First Friday for an hour of fun filled with ten different local artists excited to share their passions with their online audience.
The inaugural virtual open mic night was Operation South Jersey's Founder Hillary Nichols's solution to keeping the tradition alive despite the inability to host the event in person at Hopeloft like usual. Artists were invited to submit family-friendly videos of 10 minutes or less showcasing their talents. The videos were then compiled into a free show for viewers, interspersed with "commercials" that highlighted local charities and nonprofits.
"I wanted to make sure our local artists still had the opportunity to regularly take part in an event they love, while also incorporating a method of giving back to the community," says Hillary.
Hillary created Hopeloft's open mic nights as a low-cost community event to provide opportunities to local talent while raising money for service projects and charities. And while the setup was a bit different this time around, the original premise of the event remained true.
Rather than paying to watch the virtual open mic night, the artists invited viewers to donate to the highlighted nonprofit of the month, which was easily accessible and linked to the video, as a "tip" for their performances. Thanks to a generous audience of over 800 viewers, the event was able to raise $335 in one hour, which was donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey-Southern Branch, the state's largest anti-hunger and anti-poverty organization.
"I liked the combination of the arts and raising money for a cause," says Hillary. "Seeing how many people watched it and donated to it was very inspiring."
Hillary plans on continuing virtual open mic nights to keep the community engaged until the event is able to be held again in person. The next open mic night will air on First Friday in June on Hopeloft's Facebook page, and the money raised will be donated to CASA of CGS. The guidelines for next month's submissions are as follows:
-Acts must be family friendly
-All types of creatives are invited to submit: singers, poets, dancers, musicians, etc.
-Submissions must be five minutes or less
-Submissions must include name, name of act, cover/original
-Performers must open or close their act inviting the audience to donate to the cause of the month (June is CASA of CGS)
-Performers should share the link to the virtual open mic night when it airs to their personal social media page
If you are interested in submitting for next month's virtual open mic night, send your talents to Hillary@Hopeloft.com by June 1st!