Judges Announced for the 28th ARTS Awards

DALLASSeptember 13, 2016 – Dallas Market Center, co-founder and producer of the ARTS Awards and ART, the creative home furnishings network, today announced the judges for the 28th ARTS Awards.

The distinguished judging panel selects winners for 24 categories including Manufacturer, Retailer, Product Designer, Interior Designer, Sales Representative and Green Award. Specialty awards including Rising Star, Legendary Leadership and Academy of Achievement are selected separately.

The Green Award, which recognizes companies for their best practices in sustainability, is decided upon each year by Susan Inglis, executive director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, based upon products submitted by manufacturers and their commitment to an environmentally responsible supply chain. This award is part of Dallas Market Center’s commitment to important global issues.

The judges for the 28th ARTS Awards are Steven Avitable, Kelli Ellis, Bill G. Fortson, Caroline Hipple, Susan Inglis and Jaye Anna Mize.

Steven Avitable

Steven Avitable began his career with Gabbert's Furniture and Design Studio. During his tenure there, he worked in sales and design management, store operations, marketing, merchandising and visual presentation.

In 1999, Avitable was part of the team that launched The Home Co, an innovative approach to home retailing, and then he worked with Robert Allen | Beacon Hill as the VP of furniture and showrooms from 2002-2009 where he oversaw the re-merchandising and renovations of the company's 13 trade showrooms.

In 2010, Avitable worked with Christopher Guy to open the company's first US retail location in Beverly Hills and later consulted on the opening and merchandising of the NYDC showroom.

Avitable joined Ralph Lauren Home as the senior director of wholesale showrooms working with key international and U.S. accounts in gallery design and merchandising. He has also consulted numerous brands including Calvin Klein Home and Kate Spade Home. Avitable currently works with Steelyard Access as the SVP of business development.

Kelli Ellis

Kelli Ellis, an internationally recognized design psychology expert, artist, licensee and speaker is the founder of Design Campus and author of the best-selling book, “Do I Look Skinny in this House?”.

In addition to her Certification in Interior Design from the Interior Design Institute in California, she also holds a BA in Marketing from California State University Fullerton, a law school education from Western State University, and a liberal arts education from The University of London. Ellis has been published in numerous national publications showcasing an outdoor rug collection, two tile collections, an art glass collection, and a successful art line.

Ellis began a TV career on TLC'S “Clean Sweep” then starred in HGTV's “Takeover My Makeover”, “Move or Improve”, “Celebrity Holiday Homes”, and recently on “House Hunters Renovation”. Ellis stars in her own show on The Design Network, “Design Therapy”, debuting in the fall.

Bill G. Fortson

Bill G. Fortson, president of BJ's Home Accents, Inc., opened BJ's in 1979 with his business partner John Clements. BJ's Home Accents, Inc. in Newburgh, IN. serves the tristate area as a complete design store selling furniture, home accessories and seasonal decor.

Through Fortson’s and Clements’ leadership, the store has been awarded the ARTS Award for top Home Accents Store in the Midwest/Southwest five different years, placing them in the ARTS Awards Hall of Fame. The store has also been awarded the Gold Crystal Award by Gifts and Decorative Accessories twice.

Fortson is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and has served as president of ART and held other officer positions for the association. He has also served on advisory boards for Dallas Market Center and Home Accents Today.

Caroline Hipple

Caroline Hipple is an industry strategist, adventurous merchant, culture advocate and fearless problem solver. She currently serves the industry as president of Norwalk Furniture Company in Norwalk, Ohio. Prior to her role as president of Norwalk Furniture, Hipple served as the chief energy officer for HB2 Resources.

Before her role at HB2 Resources, Hipple served as the president and chief operating officer of Storehouse, once a full-line home furnishings retailer. In the 7 years that Hipple served as president, store sales increased from $89 million in 2000 to $148 million in 2005. The company grew from 42 to more than 70 stores throughout the Southeast, the Mid-Atlantic and Texas.

As one of the few women who has led a major home furnishings retail chain, she has a unique leadership style that has fueled unprecedented company growth and developed a culture that nurtures exceptional people. Her passion for home furnishings was born when she entered the industry more than 35 years ago.

Hipple has been recognized with the WOW Award for Education from Women in the Home Industries Today (WithIt), named Entrepreneur of the Year by Catalog Success magazine, and Storehouse was a two-time recipient of the ARTS Award as the most outstanding for National Furniture Store and under her leadership was awarded the American Furniture Award for Retailer of the Year by Home Magazine.

Susan Inglis

Susan Inglis, executive director of Sustainable Furnishings Council and founder of From the Mountain, has over 25 years of experience working with artisans and in sustainable manufacturing in the home furnishings, fashion, and gift industries. Inglis’ direction of the SFC has gained national attention and brought the organization widespread recognition as the primary source for verified sustainable home furnishings.

Inglis has spoken on behalf of SFC throughout the U.S. and abroad and has inspired many companies to adopt a sustainable platform for the future. As a consultant, she has worked in 27 countries on five continents providing services ranging from identifying procedures for insuring the sustainability of a natural resource base to market-led product development and how to access new markets effectively. She received the 2009 WithIt WOW Award for Education.

Inglis exclusively serves as the Green Award judge and reviews only the manufacturing finalists’ submissions.

Jaye Anna Mize

Jaye Anna Mize is the home interiors director for the trend-forecasting agency Fashion Snoops. With a passion for trend psychology, technology and design, Mize has branched across fashion into home and interiors through her development in trend forecasting over the past ten years.

Working with major brands worldwide, Mize spends her time covering international events and analyzing key influencers within the home and interior markets.

The 28th ARTS Awards will be presented during a gala event on Friday, January 20, 2017 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. For more information please visit dallasmarketcenter.com/artsawards.

Sponsors for the 28th ARTS Awards include enLIGHTenmentGifts & Decorative Accessories, Giftware News, HFN, Home Fashion Forecast, Home & Textiles Today, Home Accents Today, Interior Design Society, Lyon Credit Services, Residential Lighting and Sustainable Furnishings Council.

About Dallas Market Center
Dallas Market Center is a global business-to-business trade center and the leading wholesale marketplace in North America connecting retailers and interior designers with top manufacturers in home décor, furniture, gifts, lighting and fashion. Inside its dynamic, five million square foot campus near downtown Dallas, nearly 200,000 customers from all 50 states and 85 countries seek industry trends, business education and new products via open-daily showrooms and from exhibitors participating in trade events held throughout the year. The Dallas Market Center website is available at dallasmarketcenter.com.

About ART
ART is the creative home furnishings network representing manufacturers, retailers, representatives and other individuals and companies interested in promoting and enhancing the market position of the home furnishings industry. Each year ART sponsors programs such as the ART conference, regional educational seminars, the ART card and the ARTS Awards. The ART website is available at accessoriesresourceteam.org.

About the ARTS Awards
The ARTS Awards is the premier international awards program dedicated to the home industry. Up to 27 categories exist under the headings Manufacturer, Retailer, Product Designer, Interior Designer, Sales Representative, Rising Star, Green, Legendary Leadership and Academy of Achievement. Anyone in the industry can nominate including manufacturers, retailers, sales representatives, designers, suppliers, consultants and other industry professionals. Academy of Achievement, Rising Star and Legendary Leadership honorees are selected by an ARTS Awards committee each year. Companies that have won an ARTS Award five times are inducted into the Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame members are: Arteriors Home, BJ’s Home Accents, C.S. Wo & Sons, Distinctive Designs International Inc., Feizy Rugs, Fine Art Lamps, Global Views, Natural Decorations Inc., Palecek, Paragon, Schonbek Worldwide Lighting and Seasonal Living. The ARTS Awards website is available at dallasmarketcenter.com/artsawards.