Correctional Services spokesman Manelisi Wolela has denied allegations that student leader Mcebo Dla.
Cosbie Mbele started the Arts on Campus project because she wants to unearth art talent at schools and universities, nurture it and make sure recipients are rewarded with a decent life.
The professor also wants to empower artists with muchneeded entrepreneurial skills. But because of financial constraints, Mbele and her team, Lindumuzi Mngoma and Michael Masote, have had to focus on universities only. But they are confident that with more funding, schools will be included later.
"At the moment we are conducting seminars on classical jazz, dance, drama and popular music at universities in all provinces."
There is a record deal, a part in a local soapie and a R50 000 prize up for grabs.
The project is sponsored by the Arts and Culture Department, African Rainbow Minerals and SABC, with lots of help from the drama departments of universities.
Mbele says: "Many graduates do not know what to do with their music degrees because they think they have to perform to make a living. Elsewhere in the world, people make a living from only writing music."
Mbele says many people do not see the performing arts as a career.
"I hope to make people understand that they can make a decent living out of the arts."
The best students will go forward to the finals that will be held at the Standard Bank Arena in Johannesburg on February 21 2009.