Visual Merchandising Arts Trip to New York City

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Students and faculty from Sheridan’s Visual Merchandising Arts (VMA) program recently returned from an annual trip to New York City, where students attended a visual merchandising conference, Retail Design Collective New York City Dec 4-6, 2013, which is put on by the Association of Retail Environments (ARE). The conference includes information sessions and showroom tours for store planners, visual merchandisers and designers. It coincides nicely with New York City’s famous holiday retail displays (pictured above).

The NYC trip is offered annually or semi-annually to Visual Merchandising Arts (VMA) students, and is also open to other Sheridan students depending on space. VMA program coordinator, Louise Franklin, tailors the itinerary to stack the trip with educational experiences for students, while Julie Nichols organizes and plans essential logistics to make the trip possible.

Both Students and faculty attend the conference to learn new VMA trends and maintain industry contacts. Conference sessions this year included a tour of Macy’s Herald Square Flagship, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and a walking tour of city landmarks and store windows, including Grand Central Station, Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany & Co. and more. Our students were introduced to many industry leaders present at the conference, including: Harry Cunningham, the Senior Vice President of Visual Merchandising and Store Design at Saks Fifth Avenue, Tom Beebe, Vice President of EMX Group, and Eric Feigenbaum, New York Editor of VMSD trade magazine.

“This year the prevalent themes in the display windows and stores were Interactive window components, humor and re-purposing materials,” explained VMA coordinator, Louise Franklin. Each year, Louise takes what she learns in NYC to heart, and returns to Sheridan with innovative ideas to contribute to Sheridan’s curriculum.

First year student Sarah Matthews said of the trip: “New York is a place of dreams.  As a student in Visual Merchandising, to be able to see the beauty of all the retail [display] windows was truly an awe-inspiring experience.”

If you are a Sheridan student who would be interested in joining Visual Merchandising Arts on their next trip, please contact

To learn more about Sheridan’s Virtual Merchandising Arts program, please click here.

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