On First Friday in June, Hopeloft—a community center in the heart of Bridgeton that houses nonprofits and initiatives dedicated to solving serious social problems—will host their second virtual open mic night. The event spotlights local talent while highlighting nonprofits in our community and raising money for a charitable cause, and this month they are dedicating the money they raise to CASA of CGS!
Airing on Hopeloft’s Facebook page at 6 p.m. on First Friday, the monthly open mic night is an hour of fun filled with different local artists excited to share their passions with their online audience. While the event is typically held in person, the virtual open mic night is Operation South Jersey's Founder Hillary Nichols's solution to keeping the tradition alive during these difficult times.
"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 originally created Hopeloft's open mic nights in Bridgeton as a low-cost community event to provide opportunities to local talent while raising money for service projects and charities. And although the open mic night is logistically different now, the original premise of the event remains true.
Artists are invited to submit family-friendly videos of 10 minutes or less showcasing their talents. The videos are then compiled into a free show for viewers, interspersed with "commercials" that highlight local charities and nonprofits. And rather than paying to watch the virtual open mic night, the artists invite viewers to donate to the highlighted nonprofit of the month (this month is CASA of CGS), which is easily accessible and linked to the video, as a "tip" for their performances.
"I like the combination of the arts and raising money for a cause," says Hillary. "Seeing how many people watched the first virtual open mic 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 guidelines for June’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 June's virtual open mic night to help support CASA of CGS, send your talents to Hillary@Hopeloft.com by June 1st!