5 Things You Don’t Know About Retail as Art

Posted on 3.30.15 by Valerie Maniscalco in Culture


Retail as Art is in full swing and gearing up for its 7th Annual Exhibition and Scholarship Presentation. We at CBRE look forward to this event every year, anticipating the new talent that will be revealed by the students and the excitement exuded from those lucky few who will win the coveted prize money to be applied to their college of choice. Having been a part of this event for seven years, our brokers and management team know much about this annual contest; however, there are a few things even they don’t know.

1. The Idea for Retail as Art did NOT come from Mickey Ashmore.

Well not Mickey Ashmore, Vice Chairman of CBRE. It came from Mickey Ashmore’s son, Mickey Ashmore. When the company was approaching its 20th Anniversary, the partners wanted to give a thank you gift to those clients that had helped them reach this milestone. When the idea of commissioning photographs to include with this gift came about and the price of these exceeded the budget, Ashmore’s son Mickey suggested asking students from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts to take the photos. Several students submitted many great photographs and the partners decided to have a contest, display the submissions and award money to the best photos for scholarships. When the partners saw how excited and esteemed the students felt to see their hard work on display, Mickey Ashmore realized that this needed to be an annual event.

2. 42 Scholarships Have Been Awarded Since 2008.

In 2008, only one school and approximately 10 students participated. Last year we had our biggest participation thus far with 93 students entering the contest from 21 schools. As the participation has grown, support for the organization has grown as well, helping to award more money to go towards students’ higher education.

3. This Contest Launches Careers.

In 2012, with encouragement from her teacher, Abigail Chang entered Retail as Art having little experience with photography. That year she won third place. This sparked in her a desire to learn more about photography and possibly pursue it as a career. She entered the contest again in 2013 and won second place, and in 2014 won first prize for the image titled Lobster Dinner, seen below. She has since traveled the world shooting for her family’s nonprofit aid organization Linking the World, where she has photographed the aftermath of the typhoon Haiyan as well as areas in Haiti and the Dominican Republic for the organization.


Other students who have won this competition have gone on to pursue higher education and careers in the arts from such prestigious universities as San Francisco Art Institute, Northwestern, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Southern Methodist University, University of Texas, Syracuse University and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

4. You Don’t have to Own a Camera to Enter.

Last year, Retail as Art brought in a new component to the contest, Instagram. Its directors thought this would be a great way to open the contest to those who may not have access to a camera since most students were already familiar with the platform and using it in their daily lives. Over 100 entries were submitted via Instagram, forcing Instagram expert and judge Jeyson Paez to make a tough decision. Go to @retailasart to see this year’s submissions.

5. You Have 3 Days to View all the Entries.

In the past, if you wanted to see and purchase the entries in the contest, you only had one day to do it. This year the Goss-Michael Foundation has partnered with Retail as Art to not only host the 7th Annual Exhibition and Scholarship Presentation on April 25, but also open its doors on April 23 and 24 for patrons to come and view the exhibit. Being able to display the students’ work for three days is a first for Retail as Art and will be thrilling for the participants. Scholarships will be awarded at an event on April 25 from 5-7. Space is limited so make sure to RSVP to secure your spot and a chance to find out the winners.

Still want to know more about Retail as Art? Check out the video below with highlights from last year’s event.

Visit RetailasArt.com to see images from past winners, learn more about the contest and judges and donate to the organization.


Tagged: , , ,