The irony was not lost on me when the announcement came for the 2011 ARTS Academy of Achievement honoree the same week I learned of the unfortunate passing of last year’s recipient Don McEvoy. Like all of the previous luminaries to earn the distinction, McEvoy was an individual who had devoted a good portion of his 79-year life to advancing sales of home accessories.
The irony was not lost on me when the announcement came for the 2011 ARTS Academy of Achievement honoree the same week I learned of the unfortunate passing of last year’s recipient Don McEvoy. Like all of the previous luminaries to earn the distinction, McEvoy was an individual who had devoted a good portion of his 79-year life to advancing sales of home accessories. Compare that with the formidable entity set to receive the 22nd Academy of Achievement Award on Jan. 22, 2011 in Dallas: HGTV.
That’s right. The cable network.
The choice seemed odd to me at first, an impression perhaps colored by McEvoy’s obituary. I mean, imagine if HGTV got the nod last year instead. Don McEvoy might have died without receiving this ultimate recognition from the industry he loved. Who was on the short list this year and denied the opportunity? Who will accept the award in January on behalf on an entire channel? Or is that the point: to create a star-studded ARTS Awards event elevated by the attendance of design celebrities such as Candice Olson, Jamie Durie and Vern Yip?
Then it hit me — there wouldn’t even be design celebrities without HGTV. Or 24-hour broadcasting of home-centric shows. This programming inspired people at all budgets and all stages of life to update their décor, even spawning spin-offs elsewhere on the dial, from TLC’s “Trading Spaces” to ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” An appropriately placed throw pillow (or lamp) was suddenly transformative, and utterly desirable. Empowered with ideas in an age before the Internet really took off, consumers craved their big “reveal,” and we were all too happy to provide the tools.
I’m now convinced that the concept of HGTV deserves our equivalent of an honorary Oscar®. And why not now? We could use a little bit of excitement to help sustain the momentum from a halfway-decent High Point Market in the fall. Who cares if we fall prostrate to the altar of celebrity culture for one night? You know the video montage is going to be a killer.
However, I do hope the Accessories Resource Team (ART) and the Dallas Market Center return to tradition next year and select an actual person for the Academy of Achievement. The lighting and accessories industries are full of worthy candidates for whom the standing ovation and presence of family to bear witness would validate an entire career spent among us. And the clever deviation this time around will be all the more meaningful by being an anomaly.