Often compared to the Academy Awards’ Oscars® ceremony, the annual ARTS Awards – sponsored by the Dallas Market Center, ART (the creative home furnishings network), plus trade magazines including enLIGHTenment magazine – is one of the most anticipated awards galas of the year for the lighting and home furnishings industries. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the event.
With categories for best Lighting Showroom in the East/Atlantic, Midwest/Southwest, and West as well as best Lighting Fixture Manufacturer and best Portable Lamps, even being nominated as a Finalist (let alone named as Winner) holds a lot of cachet.
While there isn’t a specific Lighting Sales Representative distinction, with each passing year there has been an increasing number of Finalists and Winners from the lighting industry in the regional Sales Representative category (East/Atlantic, Midwest/Southwest, West). For the Sales Representative award, independent lighting representatives are vying for recognition alongside home accents and furniture representatives, many of whom are often part of national rep firms.
Here are the Lighting Showroom Winners:
East/Atlantic – Elements at Home, Carle Place, Long Island, NY
Midwest/Southwest – Southern Lights, Burnsville, MN
West – Urban Lights, Denver
“I want to take a moment to thank our team back in New York and a special recognition to my parents, Abe and Joan,” said Brian Kleinberg (above) of Elements at Home. He also noted that “This award is not for the single recognition of one, but the efforts of many.” The Kleinberg family also operates the lighting manufacturer Crystorama, which was a Finalist in the Lighting Fixture category.
The ARTS Award winner for Best Lighting Showroom in the Midwest was Southern Lights in Minnesota, founded by Craig Motz. Accepting the award was his son (at right), who noted “I want to thank my father, Craig, and my stepmother Lisa, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. I want to tell them I love them and we’ll celebrate after you kick cancer’s ass.”
“What a crazy adventure this has been as we’ve reinvented ourselves over the past 9 years,” said owner David Nestor (above) of Urban Lights in Colorado.
The Winner in the Portable Lamps category was Regina-Andrew of Detroit
At the podium, James Andrew Slavin credited his wife Carla Regina Sajac for her support and hard work alongside him in establishing the company and continuing its success. “She rocks my world,” he said, adding, “Thank you, Carla!”
The Winner in the Lighting Fixtures category was Hubbardton Forge of Vermont, which also won for best Green Manufacturer.
Upon accepting the awards, Jeanne-Marie Gand thanked reps and customers for “understanding our story” and added, “We strive to create beautiful products.” She also credited the Vermont factory’s “brilliant designers” and talented welders and workers in all facets of the business who help to “create wonder” with the combination of light & art. “As you walk through our facility, the [employees’] pride is palpable.” She thanked the team for “pushing the boundaries of what light can be.”
Among the winners in the Sales Representative category were lighting reps Martha Graham of Martha Graham & Associates in Florida (East/Atlantic region) and Brad Krieger of BC Sales in Cincinnati.
At the podium, Martha Graham stated, “I am blessed to have my staff; you’re the best of the best! We love our customers, they are our lifelong friends. Thank you for affording me a wonderful career, and God bless you.”
“Thank you to the ALA for supporting me as an independent rep,” said Brad Krieger (above), who also thanked his factories and “all my valued customers. I sincerely thank you and my parents, Mike and Laurie.” He credited his father for pushing him to reach his full potential and for giving him “tough love” when he needed it. He also thanked his wife, Karen: “You motivate me to be better both on and off the field. I am humbled to receive this award.”
Finalists in the Lighting Fixture category included Progress Lighting, Varaluz, Crystorama, and Fine Art Lamps.
Progress Lighting was a Finalist in the Lighting Fixture category. Cheering them on was (from left to right) fellow nominee Ron Henderson of Varaluz; Sharon Davis, executive director of ART; Laura Van Zeyl of Dallas Market Center; Colleen Visage and Kendra Outlaw of Progress Lighting.
Varaluz was a Finalist in the Lighting Fixture category
The Warmbold family at Accent Lighting in Oregon was a Finalist in the Lighting Showroom/West category.
Lucia Lighting in Massachusetts, founded by Lucy Dearborn, was a Finalist in the Lighting Showroom/East category.
The crew at Hubbardton Forge in Vermont smiles at their double win for Lighting Fixtures & Green Manufacturer.