Retail as Art
Giving back to the community has always been a passion of mine, and I love hearing how my fellow colleagues are giving back. What’s even better is having the support of your own company behind you.
Last month, CBRE’s Chairman of Retail Services Americas, Mickey Ashmore, along with his wife Temple Ashmore, hosted the eighth annual “Retail as Art” exhibition at the Goss-Michael Foundation. “Retail As Art” is a scholarship contest designed to showcase the very best photographic interpretations of “Retail as Art” from Dallas-Fort Worth area high school students.
More than $22,000 in scholarship funds was awarded to 14 Dallas-area students. Claire Marucci of the Hockaday School won first prize, which included a $5,000 scholarship, for her work titled “Nocturnal Energy.” Over 300 attendees enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and other refreshments while mingling and viewing the participants’ photographs.
“Temple and I have always been passionate about education and the ability to help give young students the opportunity to pay for a quality education,” said Mickey Ashmore. “Having founded a retail real estate firm, I wanted to find a way to combine my passion for real estate and my family’s passion to help others. Thus Retail as Art was born.”
The purpose of the event is to showcase the best local photographic talent, celebrate and capture the true essence of retail and reward the winners and their schools for their talent and efforts.
The Ashmores created “Retail as Art” while at UCR and hosted the first “Retail as Art” invitational in 2008. The contest started small with only five student participants from one high school — Booker T. Washington School for the Visual and Performing Arts. This year, the entries grew to 124 students from 25 schools.
“I believe this year was the best year yet, and I look forward to growing the program in the future,” said Ashmore.
CBRE’s CBRE Cares program supports and leverages the passion and talents of our employees to create real benefit for individuals in need. Adding “Retail as Art” to our portfolio of community programs is an honor. With the support of CBRE’s expansive network, I imagine the “Retail as Art” program growing exponentially in the years to come. Congrats to all the winners who participated this year!
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.
DALLAS, Texas, March 5, 2014 – This year marks a key milestone for local charity Retail as Art. The event host and presenting sponsor, UCR, today announced that the nonprofit organization will be awarding over $10,000 in scholarships at its upcoming Retail as Art Exhibition and awards ceremony on April 9 at 129Leslie in the Dallas Design District.
“We are humbled by the generosity and support of our clients, colleagues and business partners,” said
Mickey Ashmore, Founder of Retail as Art and UCR CEO. “Each year we build upon the last. It’s tremendous to see the positive impact of this program in the community.”
Because of the successful fundraising, Retail as Art is doubling the scholarship dollars awarded over last year.
Retail as Art is an annual photography scholarship competition that showcases the best photographic talent in DFW‐area high schools and rewards that talent with college scholarships. UCR created this 5013c organization in 2008 as a way to give back to the community. All Retail as Art proceeds go to benefit the UCR Retail as Art Fund, which is organized and operated exclusively for educational and charitable purposes. All participating students will submit their images by March 8.
The number of participating schools and students has also increased significantly this year.
“We have 165 students from 21 schools participating. Our judges will face a challenge when they gather to select the winners on March 13,” Ashmore said.
The competition also added an Instagram category this year.
“By adding Instagram to Retail as Art we are able to reach a larger group of student photographers. Our goal is to interest more students by tweaking our format over time,” Kendall Schiffler, Corporate Director of Marketing, UCR.
The panel of esteemed Retail as Art judges includes Evans Caglage, The Dallas Morning News; Wade Griffith, Commercial Photographer; Teresa Gubbins, CultureMap; Lisa Petty, DFW Style Daily; Samantha Reitmayer Sano, SWOON, the studio; Bernard Underwood, An Intimate Place; and Jeyson Paez, @InstaDFW (Instagram Judge).
A group of bloggers have graciously agreed to serve as Retail as Art Patrons to help raise the profile of the program in the community. These individuals include Cynthia Smoot, Oh So Cynthia; Betsy Mitchell, The Dallas Socials and Lip Gloss and High Heels; Jennifer Buxton, Real Posh Mom; Lea Ann Stundins, Mommy’s Wish List and Courtney and Allison Edwards, Where Wear in the City.
The Retail as Art program will culminate with a gallery‐style Photography Exhibition and Awards Ceremony planned for 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on April 9 at 129Leslie. The event will showcase the top submissions and features hors d’oeuvres provided by Bolsa Mercado, beverages, valet parking courtesy of Sewell Dealerships, tunes by DJ Blake Ward and an opportunity for students to mingle with judges and sponsors. Prints of the winning photographs will be on sale at the event.
Zoom‐Level Sponsors for Retail as Art include:
DALLAS, Texas, February 19, 2014 – When 17-year-old Abby Chang entered her first student photography contest on a whim in 2012, she never thought that two years later she would be shooting natural disaster footage as a field photographer for an international aid organization.
Chang, currently a junior at The Einstein School of Plano, first entered the 2012 UCR Retail as Art photography competition, which awards thousands of dollars in scholarships each year to area high school students, at the behest of her North Dallas High School art teacher Brian McClure.
“Mr. MClure took an interest in me and saw that I liked photography and had a lot of potential, so he let me know about the contest just for fun,” said Chang, who realized her interest in photography while studying abroad in South Korea before returning to the states for high school. “I didn’t realize there was an actual career aspect to photography until after I explored it in depth. Before I had just thought it was a hobby. [The contest] definitely opened me up to other opportunities in photography. I was able to find out that photography is a career path that a lot of people pursue and it made me realize it’s an option for me as well.”
Chang initially began taking pictures on her cell phone while commuting to and from school in South Korea.
“I was a dormitory student and didn’t really see my parents until the weekend,” said Chang. “I had a lot of time to myself and being a foreigner and not really having a lot of people to connect with, I started to take a lot of pictures on my phone. That’s what started it.”
McClure said Chang’s cultural background and experiences make her photography work stand apart from the average student.
“It has been wonderful seeing her grow,” McClure said. “Abby has shown drastic improvement and responds very well to constructive criticism. She has a unique advantage and perspective living in Korea and doing mission work.”
Under McClure’s guidance, Chang won third place in the 2012 Retail as Art competition and went on to win second place the following year. She said the experience gave her the confidence to explore photography as a career.
Chang’s family, who founded the nonprofit aid organization Linking The World in 1996, opened a Dallas- based American branch in 2012 that is run by Chang’s sister, Mina Chang.
“I think through the Retail as Art competition and exploring other portals of photography they realized I had some talent and they tested me out a couple of times just to make sure I had the right qualifications to become one of their field photographers,” said Chang, who attended an intense training program last summer to prepare for the role. “I had to go abroad to these countries where there is a lot of risk involved. There was a really long training and trial period and it just worked out really well.”
Chang recently returned from a month-and-a-half-long assignment in the Philippines where she photographed the aftermath of the typhoon Haiyan. Prior to that, she shot photos in Haiti and the Dominican Republic for the organization.
“It’s not just taking the photo, it’s about the things involved in it,” said Chang. “Traveling has really opened me up to things. Everywhere I go my perspective is always changing and I get to see the perspectives of other people. As a photographer it’s really important to understand that.” Chang said she would recommend contests like Retail as Art to aspiring student photographers because of the exposure and inspiration it offers.
“You can learn a lot about working in the photography field because you’re up against other people and you can see past winners and their photos, discover why those photos won, what people liked about them and what the judges look for,” Chang said. “Every time you enter a contest, you’re learning something new. When I first entered, I didn’t know anything about it and now I know what the judges look for and what makes a good quality photo.”
Jim Reische, photography instructor at Cistercian Preparatory School, who has also mentored several students in the Retail as Art competition, said he is always surprised at what the contest brings out in students.
“You just never know what they’ll be able to do,” Reische said. “I’m exceptionally proud of all my students who take part in this. Having a deadline and a specific topic is good motivation, and they get to see how photography in the real world looks. It’s good for them to see their work compared to other students’ work. They get to see how good they really are.”
Calling All DFW‐Area High School Students! UCR Announces Call for Entries for the 6th Annual Retail as Art Photography Scholarship Competition
DALLAS, Texas, January 22, 2014 – UCR, Texas’ largest retail real estate services provider, will accept applications for their sixth annual Retail as Art photography scholarship contest February 4 – March 1. Those interested should attend the upcoming information session on February 4 at 6 p.m. Retail as Art is free to participate and open to all public and private high school students in the DFW Metroplex. Participants are encouraged to use their cameras to capture the true essence of Dallas/Fort Worth retail.
DFW‐area high school students are encouraged to submit their best photographic interpretations of “Retail as Art” to be judged by local photographers, tastemakers and industry professionals. The top five entrants will eceive UCR Retail as Art Scholarships. The annual competition’s mission is to showcase the best local photographic talent, celebrate and capture the true essence of Dallas/Fort Worth retail and reward students and their schools for their talent and efforts.
Mickey Ashmore, UCR’s president and CEO, is the heart and soul of Retail as Art. As a former high school teacher and current father of three and grandfather of five, Ashmore has always been passionate about education and the arts. In 2008, UCR hosted the first Retail as Art invitational. Since then, the event has grown from one school to include 12 DISD high schools and one private school. Says Ashmore, “It is a blessing to be able to reach out to students and support their talent, challenge their creativity, enrich their retail and art education, and reward the top talent. The entire UCR team believes in this charity, and we are thrilled with the growth this program has experienced. It’s such a pleasure to see the outstanding results, both in terms of the photographs produced and the benefits received by all involved.”