The Friday Fives: The Design Dreams of Dominic DiCarlo

May 20, 2016

Dominic DiCarlo

Dominic DiCarlo

School may be out for the summer, but students at the world-renowned University of Cincinnati School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning are still hard at work! We are lucky to have three of those talented students with us as co-ops for the next several months, so for the next three weeks, we'll be featuring one of them in our "Friday Fives" blog series. Each student was asked to pick from a list of five questions and provide their answers along with a statement on what their dream project would be.

First up? Industrial design student, Dominic DiCarlo.


If I had one extra hour in the day, I would …

If I had one extra hour in the day, I would hope to use that time to work on my design projects and further invest myself in my design learning. There is a good chance that this would end in a brief nap instead.  

My favorite part of the design process is …

My favorite part of the design process is when I am given the lead on a design project and I can make the design decisions. When this happens I am able to put some of myself into my projects.

Best stress buster

The best stress buster is exercise, the kind of exercise that does not allow for thought. Working physically hard enough to ensure your thought is focused around what your body can do.

How would you describe experiential design to people NOT in the industry?

Experiential design is creating the memory that people take home with them.


My ideal work uniform would entail…

My ideal work uniform would entail a long sleeve black shirt with three buttons at the top, a black belt, khaki slacks, and a nice pair of wingtips.


Dream project?

Desinging a living space.

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A Place for 'Stuff': JRA-Designed National Comedy Center to Receive George Carlin Archives

May 13, 2016

Kelly Carlin speaks as part of a panel discussion at the Paley Center for Media, New York, NY, on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. The National Comedy Center of Jamestown, NY, presented a panel discussion that evening entitled Celebrating George Carlin – Satire and Democracy: Empowering the Citizenry with Comedy.

Kelly Carlin speaks as part of a panel discussion at the Paley Center for Media, New York, NY, on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. The National Comedy Center of Jamestown, NY, presented a panel discussion that evening entitled Celebrating George Carlin – Satire and Democracy: Empowering the Citizenry with Comedy.

The National Comedy Center has acquired the archives of George Carlin. The acquisition was announced Tuesday night by the comedian’s daughter, Kelly Carlin, at a private event in New York hosted by the Comedy Center. The contents of the Carlin archive contain material saved by the comedian over his 50-plus-year career, and will be utilized in the Center’s forthcoming museum experience—scheduled to open in Jamestown, New York in 2017.

The event, Satire and Democracy: Empowering the Citizenry with Comedy, was held at The Paley Center for Media, and featured a panel discussion with Lewis Black, Robert Klein, Larry Wilmore and Lizz Winstead recorded for the Comedy Center’s archives. The panel was held in tribute to George Carlin, who passed away in 2008 and would have been 79 years old tomorrow.

Kliph Nesteroff, author of “The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels and the History of American Comedy,” moderated the discussion and was announced last evening as the Chief Curator of the Comedy Center’s forthcoming museum experience.

The Carlin archive includes his extensive creative files, annotated set lists, handwritten journals, scrapbooks, awards, letters, clothing, arrest records and countless hours of video and audio recordings containing both released and unreleased material. Archive images and an audio sample can be found at:

Notes for Geoge Carlin’s November 1990 appearance on Letterman. George Carlin was said to have never left anything to chance – everything was scripted and then he would critique himself.

“There comes a time in one’s life when it’s time to let go of our parent’s stuff. For me this has been a literal process. Through the writing of my memoir and touring my solo show, I’ve gotten to be with my father in many ways, and let go of, honor and transform our past together,” said Kelly Carlin in a statement. “I am truly excited that there will be a place for my dad’s stuff—permanently. The folks at the National Comedy Center are thoughtful, respectful and excited about the art of comedy. I can think of no other place for my dad’s legacy to be permanently honored, archived and preserved for future generations.”

(Left to Right) Lewis Black, Robert Klein (standing), Larry Wilmore, Kelly Carlin take part on a panel discussion at the Paley Center for Media, New York, NY, on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. The National Comedy Center of Jamestown, NY, presented a panel discussion that evening entitled Celebrating George Carlin – Satire and Democracy: Empowering the Citizenry with Comedy.

Journey Gunderson, Executive Director of the National Comedy Center, added, “George Carlin helped redefine the art form of stand-up comedy and we are honored to help steward his legacy in this way. With this incredible archive we can provide a window into his creative process for generations to come.”

Arrest Report for George Carlin’s appearance at Milwaukee SummerFest in 1972.

A non-profit cultural institution dedicated to the celebration of comedy the National Comedy Center, is a $50 million project funded by public-private partnership. To date it has been awarded more than $3.5 million from New York State, Empire State Development and I Love NY™.

“The National Comedy Center’s museum will take guests on a personalized, interactive comedic journey through time, and across all media types, in a unique and fun way,” said Tom Benson, Chairman of the project. “It will preserve, protect and trace the lineage between comedy of the past and the future so that it will live and be relevant forever.”

The National Comedy Center’s ground-breaking weekend for the forthcoming museum took place last August and featured Jerry Seinfeld, Nick Offerman, the award-winning creative team of David Letterman’s 33-year career, and the families of Milton Berle, George Carlin, Harold Ramis, and Joan Rivers.

The project embodies Lucille Ball’s vision for her hometown of Jamestown to become a destination for the celebration of the comedic arts.  The organization operates the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, and for the last 25 years has produced the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival with performers including Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Joan Rivers, Ray Romano, Bob Newhart, The Smothers Brothers and more than 100 other comedic artists.

The Comedy Center’s 2016 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, August 4-7, will feature comedians Lewis Black, Trevor Noah and Brian Regan, panel discussions featuring screenwriter-directors the Farrelly Brothers, and the daughters of Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor.

JRA is honored to provide complete planning, design and project management for the National Comedy Center, working in conjunction with renowned interactive media specialists, Local Projects.

For additional coverage of the George Carlin archive acquisition, please check out the following articles:

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2016 ACM Scholarship Recipients Celebrate Collective Impact of Children's Museums

May 11, 2016

JRA Digital Engagement Director, Clara Rice (left) with the 2016 ACM InterActivity scholarship recipients (L to R) - Jessica Bickford-Manson, Holly Cheeseman, Traci Winscot and Lisa Phelps (Kathy Parham not pictured)

JRA Digital Engagement Director, Clara Rice (left) with the 2016 ACM InterActivity scholarship recipients (L to R) - Jessica Bickford-Manson, Holly Cheeseman, Traci Winscot and Lisa Phelps (Kathy Parham not pictured)

Last week, hundreds of children's museum professionals met for the Association of Children's Museums' InterActvity 2016: Collective Impact, in Stamford, Connecticut. During this three-day conference, participants could peruse the show floor at the Museum Marketplace, engage in roundtable discussions, connect at networking events, and soak in the knowledge offered by childhood education experts from across the country and round the world.

Since 2008, ACM has offered its Small Museums Financial Aid program to offset professional development expenses for museum staff at open children's museums with annual budgets under $500,000. And since 2008, JRA has been a proud sponsor of this program. Through the program, ACM and JRA wish to cultivate staff members at small museums for long-term careers in the children's museum field. The program offered scholarship recipients free registration to Interactivity 2016 and tickets to the Welcome Dinner and Opening Reception.

The scholarship also provided recipients complimentary admission to Collective Impact Live!, a new take on programming inspired by the Stepping Stones Museum for Children's take on collective impact. Collective Impact Live! was an opportunity for attendees to deeply engage in a critical issue facing children everywhere—the achievement gap. The program began with an interactive session modeled after a New England town meeting at the Norwalk Concert Hall and was followed by Norwalk’s Ultimate Block Party, a model demonstration of how children’s museums can leverage their expertise and relationships to prevent summer learning loss. The Block Party featured dance, music, Cinco de Mayo-inspired food for community members of all ages, as well as an exclusive opportunity for conference attendees to peruse the Museum.

"ACM was thrilled when JRA approached us with the idea of the Small Museum Scholarship back in 2008, and we are happy that the scholarship has become one of the Association's most valued member benefits," said Laura Heurta Migus, ACM Executive Director. "Through this program, 45 individuals from 40 ACM member museums have been able to participate in InterActivity, ACM's signatiure professional development event. Museums with annual budgets under $500,000 are valued members of the children's museum community, making up more than 50 percent of ACM's membership. They're doing innovative and important work in their communities, and JRA's continued support of the Small Museum Scholarship Program shows just how dedicated the firm is to the children's museum field!"

This year's recipients were:

Congratulations to the scholarship recipients, and we look forward to working with you in the future!



Tags: JRA Journeys , Outside the Studio

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PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT: Museum Celebrates World's Favorite Canned Meat Product

April 24, 2016

SPAM® Museum - Austin, Minnesota, USA

SPAM® Museum - Austin, Minnesota, USA

Yes, you read that headline correctly!

Last Friday marked the opening of Hormel Foods' SPAM® Museum in downtown Austin, Minnesota, USA. The 14,000-square-foot museum celebrates the 79-year history of the iconic SPAM® family of products and the 125-year history of Hormel Foods. It houses a mix of galleries from the previous location and new experiences, including the iconic product’s popularity around the globe, the SPAM® brand today and its history with the military.

“We are excited to open the SPAM® Museum in downtown Austin and share this new, interactive experience with SPAM® fans across the globe,” said Nicole L. Behne, marketing director, Grocery Products at Hormel Foods. “As we prepare to celebrate the 125th anniversary of our company in Austin, throughout the country and the world, this new SPAM® Museum will be a great way for people to connect with the iconic SPAM® products and Hormel Foods.”

JRA provided complete planning, design and project management for the new SPAM® Museum. The museum is located in the heart of downtown Austin, and the company hopes this will increase patronage for the surrounding businesses. “It was important for Hormel Foods to have the museum in downtown Austin to support its growth and see this area become a destination for both city residents and tourists,” said Savile C. Lord, manager, SPAM® Museum and community relations at Hormel Foods. “We hope that the new downtown location will allow people to see all that Austin has to offer, including great restaurants and shopping.”

The SPAM® Museum is located at 101 3rd Avenue NE, Austin, Minnesota, USA and is open seven days a week. Please visit for further details.

About Hormel Foods
Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minnesota, USA is a multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer-branded food and meat products, many of which are among the best known and trusted in the food industry. Hormel Foods, which leverages its extensive expertise, innovation and high competencies in pork and turkey processing and marketing to bring branded, value-added products to the global marketplace, will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2016. The company is a member of the Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 Index, S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats, and was named one of “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” by Corporate Responsibility Magazine for the seventh year in a row. Hormel Foods also received a perfect score on the 2016 Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, was recognized on the 2016 Best for Vets Employers List by Military Times, and was named one of the 2016 Best Companies for Leaders by Chief Executive magazine. The company enjoys a strong reputation among consumers, retail grocers, foodservice and industrial customers for products highly regarded for quality, taste, nutrition, convenience and value. For more information, visit



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Out in Space and Under the Sea - Join JRA for Houston SATE Academy Day

April 12, 2016

On April 27th and 28th, industry professionals from across the country will gather for the Themed Entertainment Association’s first-ever event in Texas, USA. This SATE Academy Day, entitled “Out in Space and Under the Sea” and hosted by the TEA’s Eastern North America Division, will feature three of Houston and Galveston’s most popular venues over two days and showcase never before seen technologies. Tickets for this one-of-a-kind experience are available now, and spots are limited.
About SATE and SATE Academy Days

The SATE acronym stands for Story + Architecture + Technology = Experience. TEA produces an annual SATE conference and, throughout the year, a series of SATE Academy Days. A popular SATE Academy Day format is the "day out" in a city with multiple attractions, such as Houston. These events are produced by industry professionals for industry professionals, introducing them to each other, the TEA and the great work that themed entertainment companies are creating and producing around the world.

“Houston, We Have a Shuttle” – Launching Day One at Independence Plaza

To begin the two days of events, guests will be shuttled via bus from the Moody Gardens Hotel in Galveston to spend an afternoon at Space Center Houston.

Since opening in 1992, Space Center Houston has welcomed more than 18 million visitors and currently hosts nearly 1 million visitors annually in its 183,000-square-foot educational entertainment complex. It is one of Houston’s top attractions, the area’s No. 1 attraction for international visitors, the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center and the only Smithsonian Affiliate in the greater Houston area.

This past January, Space Center Houston unveiled its largest project since that 1992 opening – the $14 million Independence Plaza. Visitors can enter the shuttle replica Independence, mounted on top of the historic and original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA), and then explore the giant plane. It is the world’s only shuttle mounted on an SCA and the only one allowing the public to enter both.

Images of Indpendence Plaza courtesy Space Center Houston

After enjoying a complimentary lunch in the Space Center’s café, SATE Academy Day guests will be given a tour of Independence Plaza, followed by a panel discussion with representatives from Space Center Houston and the Independence Plaza creative team, including JRA Senior Project Designer, Rick O’Connell. They will also have time to explore some of the Center’s more than 400 space artifacts, exhibits, attractions and theaters before heading back to Galveston for dine-arounds at restaurants throughout the city.

JRA is a proud sponsor of the TEA's visit to Space Center Houston, alongside our friends and colleagues at Boston Productions, Inc. (bpi).

To Infinity and Beyond – True8K™ Technology at the Burke Baker Planetarium

On March 11, the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Burke Baker Planetarium became the world’s first True8K™ planetarium, displaying full-dome star fields and movies with over 500 million pixels. To begin Day Two of Houston SATE Academy Day, guests will be treated to a private demonstration and discussion on this groundbreaking technology with Dr. Carolyn Sumners, HMNS President for Astronomy, and Michael Daut of Evans and Sutherland.

Produced by Evans and Sutherland, the Digistar 5, the world's premiere digital planetarium system, uses 20 state-of-the-art graphics processing computers to feed ten 4K projectors with the equivalent of 40 HD streams at 60 frames per second or faster. E&S has developed proprietary auto alignment and auto blending technology to combine images from the ten projectors into one seamless scene across the entire dome with no visible blends.

Image courtesy Evans and Sutherland

The Digistar projected image has a contrast ratio of up to 20,000:1. According to Dr. Sumners, "the system can produce a night sky as dark, clear and crisp as the skies of West Texas, the Rockies, or the African savannah, giving Houstonians the rich night sky experience that has been lost to city dwellers."

After the planetarium show and discussion, guests will tour the Museum’s Wiess Energy Hall and enjoy lunch on their own in the surrounding neighborhood.

This visit to the Houston Museum of Natural Science is made possible by Evans and Sutherland.

Pineapples Under the Sea – Moody Gardens and SpongeBob SubPants

Once they return to Moody Gardens, guests are free to explore the park on their own. Later in the afternoon, visitors will be treated to a complimentary, private screening of Moody Garden’s latest attraction, the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure. The SpongeBob SubPants Adventure at Moody Gardens combines 3D film, 4D effects, a live performer, and a real-time animated character who interacts with guests - all in an attraction which allows the audience to choose their destination on a delightful undersea journey.

Image courtesy Nickelodeon

Beginning with a preshow, which features touch tanks and educational interactive exhibits, guests soon enter the submarine "Le Plunger" (a 4D theater) to experience a simulated descent to Bikini Bottom, where an animated Patrick Starr from the SpongeBob SquarePants series helps them decide where they want to travel. SpongeBob SubPants was recently recognized with a 2016 Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement.

The different elements combine to evoke the world of SpongeBob SquarePants to quirky and comical effect, all in perfect sync with the characters and sensibility of the franchise. The attraction uses the new Geppetto Animation Control System (which also received a 2016 Thea Award) to achieve the seamless integration of the real time animated character in the show.
Following the show, members of the creative team will discuss their processes in putting together this first-of-its-kind media experience.

The SpongeBob SubPants viewing is made possible by The Nassal Company and Nickelodeon.

Texas Welcomes the TEA

To close Houston SATE Academy Day, Texas TEA companies will welcome guests with a mixer at the Moody Gardens Hotel.

“One of the most fun aspects of organizing this event has been engaging with representatives from TEA’s Texas companies,” said JRA's Clara Rice, Eastern Division Vice President and event co-organizer. “They are so excited to have TEA in the Lone Star State, and we look forward to introducing these companies to each other, our guests and the TEA at large.”

“As a long standing TEA member, who most commonly participates at events on the East or West Coast, we are extremely excited to have a SATE Academy Day and a TEA Mixer event coming to our home state of Texas,” said Grady Brown, President of iZone Imaging. “It's our pleasure and honor to help support this event, and we look forward to showing our infamous Texas hospitality.”

“I’m sure I speak for all regional TEA members in saying how excited we are to host SATE Academy Day in Houston,” added Joe Pedigo of Marilyn Systems, LLC.  “We at Marilyn Systems hope that this is just the first of many TEA events and look forward to welcoming y’all to Texas!”

This mixer is sponsored by Fountain People, iZone Imaging, Longhorn Organics, Marilyn Systems, SRO Associates, and Worlds of Wow!

Join Us!
“The TEA’s strong growth over the past few years has greatly increased our membership outside of our traditional hubs in Orlando and Los Angeles,” said Scott Gill, TEA Eastern North America Division President.  “Exploring groundbreaking projects in cities like Houston allows regional members to showcase their work and all of us to forge new relationships.  As the number of regional members grows, regional events become more frequent, providing further opportunities for all of our members to connect.”

Register now by clicking here. Tickets are $50 and include admissions to Space Center Houston, Burke Baker Planetarium, HMNS and SpongeBob SubPants, all tours, Wednesday lunch, Thursday breakfast, mixer hors d’oeuvres and other treats. A discounted hotel rate of $149 is available at the Moody Gardens Hotel, and the bus will only service the host hotel.


Tags: JRA Journeys , Outside the Studio

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