The Accessories Resource Team  (ART) and the Dallas Market Center  (DMC) have given more people a say in who wins the next ARTS Awards  and given more manufacturers a chance to win the new Green Manufacturer award, thanks to new changes in the judging process.
ART Executive Director Sharon Davis says one major change is that all manufacturer nominees are now eligible for the Green Manufacturer award, which was introduced last year.
“The Green Manufacturer award will no longer by a separate category for people to opt into,” Davis says. “Instead, [Sustainable Furnishings Council  Executive Director] Susan Inglis will review all the manufacturer binders and name a surprise winner at the ARTS Awards gala in January.”
The overall judging process has also undergone a few changes. Judging for the ARTS Awards will now be a three-part process. As in the past, a panel of judges will independently review submissions and manufacturers’ product samples and award a maximum of 100 points per finalist. This year’s judges include Inglis; Martha Griffin, executive editor of Design Guide; Donna Moss, interior designer, retailer and star of HGTV’s “Donna Decorates Dallas”; and Melanie Belew, interior designer and owner of Belew Design Studio.
The final two phases are new to the judging process. After the judges have voted, a panel of five ARTS Awards Hall of Fame members will judge a digital, edited version of the submissions. The panel’s cumulative scores will be equal to one judge – a maximum of 100 points. Peer panel companies or individuals with known affiliations will be excused from judging any category of conflict. This year’s peer panel includes John Clements and Bill Fortson, co-owners of BJ’s Home Accents ; David Gebhart, CEO of Global Views ; Lendall Glassco, President of Paragon ; Tom Hoffman, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Distinctive Designs ; and Mary Taylor, consultant and former CEO of Montaage.
Finally, ART members will vote on the finalists. Votes will be taken anonymously via an online ballot, which will include links to finalists’ websites and biography information. Finalists may receive up to five bonus points based on the membership vote. Like the nomination process, self votes will not be accepted and only members in good standing are welcome to vote.
The ARTS Awards are also incorporating more digital aspects into this year’s submission process. Every category now has a digital component to facilitate the new voting process, and sales representative and designer submissions are now entirely digital. Sales representatives also have the opportunity to incorporate a three to five minute YouTube video. Davis says she hopes the entire submission process will move to digital in three years.
The judging panel and the ARTS Awards Hall of Fame panel will make their evaluations in November, but ART has already begun rolling out ART members’ online ballots, which are due in early November. Winners will be announced at the ARTS Awards gala during the Dallas Market on Jan. 21 at the ARTS Awards’ new location, the Hilton Anatole  (pictured). Tickets will be available online starting in November.