HIGH POINT, NC (June 20, 2023) – On June 15th, High Point by Design (HPxD) held its Annual General Membership Meeting at the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame. Attended by 120 community, design, and industry guests, speakers included High Point Mayor Jay Wagner, High Point Market Authority CEO/President Tammy Nagem, and Visit High Point President Melody Burnett. City Councilman and Change Often President, Cyril Jefferson was Master of Ceremonies.
Themed “SynchroniCITY”, HPxD’s annual meeting was designed to reflect the big picture of transformative change happening throughout High Point, as well as highlighting one of City Council’s key goals, to make High Point a world capital for arts and design.
“High Point is already a world art and design capital, there’s just not enough people that know about it,” Mayor Wagner said, noting new city initiatives that are public art-focused. He further emphasized the importance of making High Point a city where creative people want to be because creatives push the envelope and move cities forward, he said.
Tammy Nagem and Melody Burnett shared how their respective organization’s missions crossover with HPxD and the strategies they are using to fulfill them. Nagem pointed to key areas such as cultivating new buyer targets and nourishing the next generation where High Point Market and HPxD clearly overlap. Burnett spoke of Visit High Point’s diverse efforts to drive tourism to the city, such as music and festivals, sports, and of course, elevating High Point’s furniture story.
“We want to tease out the story as much as possible and always link back to our DNA in home furnishings,” Burnett said.
The event also included a special HPXD member panel featuring Caroline Hipple, President of Norwalk Furniture, Sabrina Tillman, Owner & Artist at Sabrina’s Gallery on Main, and Jason Phillips, VP of Sales and Marketing at Phillips Collection. Each member shared a bit about their vision for the city and emphasized how being an HPxD member benefits their business.
Hipple views High Point as the obvious year-round destination for designers South of New York and North of Atlanta. Giving high marks to the city’s creative community, conversely, she acknowledged the lack of places to eat and sleep, asking, “What can we do to make it Southern Cool?”
Phillips is spending much more time in downtown High Point these days since the company relocated to a street-level showroom at Main and Commerce. He shared that with all that he’s getting involved in, and even though his family still resides in Greensboro, he feels like both feet are firmly planted in High Point.
Tillman, who grew up in High Point, envisions her city to be a thriving art hub that attracts people from all over. She also wants to narrow the divide between locals and the Market. Poised to make change through art and activations at her gallery, Tillman said she could have ventured beyond the city to expose her talent to a larger audience yet chose to invest in High Point. “Why do I have to pick up and leave my mother and father who are my support system to create a gallery somewhere else?” she posed, encouraging change-seekers to continue pushing forward.
The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame was an inspiring venue to hold the event. Karen McNeill, CEO/President of the Board of Directors, spoke about building a bridge between the industry and community and the interactive exhibits planned for Phase 2 of the Hall. She also described the custom-designed eternal flame sculpture that will go out front.
McNeill said, “We are an eternal industry. Not many industries can say this. People will always have homes and will always need home furnishings. And something we can be proud of, We are a noble industry, we improve lives by creating beautiful homes.”
Official business was also conducted at the meeting by outgoing Board Secretary Stancil Wilson. Officers Tom Van Dessel (President), Cass Key (Vice President), Frank Leyon (Membership), and Jack Hendrix (Treasurer) will continue in their roles with Di-Ann Williams, President of Aston Court, voted onto the Board to replace Wilson as Secretary. According to Wilson, who runs Stancil Creative with his wife Christen, “We have to get back to work at our design firm so we can come back to town and buy furniture.”
About High Point by Design @highpointxdesign
High Point x Design (HPxD) is a 501(c)6 organization that unites the industry’s best flagships, brands, manufacturers, makers, artists and visionaries who envision High Point as a year-round hub for design and creativity. By promoting and sharing the city’s uniquely creative ecosystem through design tourism, education, events and community outreach, HPxD seeks to impact change in the High Point community and beyond. To learn more visit: HPXD.ORG
Photos by Ron Royals