STAFF ANNOUNCEMENT: JRA Adds Rachel Daheim To Its Full-Time Team

December 15, 2014

Rachel Daheim, JRA's Newest Designer

Rachel Daheim, JRA's Newest Designer

JRA is happy to announce that we have added Rachel Daheim to our full-time design team. Rachel has been a JRA co-op since June, so we know that her talent and enthusiasm will be a great asset to JRA and our clients.

Here's a little more about Rachel:

When it comes to design, Rachel is a true Texan, a hard working individual who dreams and thinks big. Her diverse background, versatile skill set, and strong work ethic enable her to excel as a member of JRA’s creative team.

Rachel graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Production Design and a minor in Themed Entertainment Design. During her time at SCAD, Rachel had the opportunity to work in a variety of disciplines: film, theater, animation, graphic design, advertising, and user experience. She collaborated with firms such as Walt Disney Imagineering and Hewlett Packard, where she designed environments with a high volume of interactive technology to create memorable experiences.

Rachel has left Texas behind to join JRA’s creative team in creating cutting edge attractions and unforgettable experiences around the world. She has provided design and schematic support for exhibits, shows, rides and attractions on various projects in China, Russia, and the Middle East, as well as here at home. Rachel is currently working on a family entertainment center scheduled to open next year in St. Petersburg, Russia. For more information on Rachel, and examples of her work, check out her website, and join us in congratulating her on this new adventure.

Next week, we'll wrap up 2014 with our annual Year in Review blog, featuring babies, bikes, birds and a host of other surprises!

Tags: JRA Team

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Conference World Tour 2014: Mapping Out MAPIC with Dana Everhart

December 10, 2014

As we mentioned in a previous post, JRA was pleased to attend its first ever MAPIC Conference.  The show, which welcomed over 8,400 retail developers, designers and creators to Cannes, France, offered three days of product demonstrations, networking events and educational opportunities. Two of those lucky delegates were our own Dana Everhart and Rob Morgan, and Dana was kind (and lucky!) enough to share her impressions of the conference, and of the French Riviera. 


Day One

To kick things off on Monday, we spent time strolling LaCroisette, which is a mile-long promenade that gives incredible views of the Mediterranean and the rolling Estérel hills as well as exploring the nearby town. This also happened to be the walking path to and from the MAPIC convention, so we were able to get the lay of the land and make sure we knew exactly where to go once the doors opened Wednesday morning.


Rue Meynadler is lined with charming 18th-century houses, which have been repurposed as boutiques, selling everything from trendy and (relatively inexpensive) clothing to wine and cheese.

Day Two

After an initial day of sightseeing (and jet lag recovery), it was time for MAPIC!  At 8 a.m., the doors opened for the newcomers welcome meeting and tour.  This meeting explained the floor layout and gave advice on how to best navigate the show floor.

Day Three

The show floor was absolutely packed with people and all the booths were busy. We managed to talk to a few people but concentrated primarily on the seminar sessions given by industry colleagues.

Some of these sessions included: advice to mall owners and retailers about how they could gain a competitive edge by using entertainment / cultural anchors to bring more foot traffic into their stores, the design approach to best integrate entertainment and retail, how retailers and mall owners could learn a lot from the attractions industry about lengthening stay and how to increase spending and lastly, current trending and growth markets like China, Russia and Turkey.

Day Four

On the final day of MAPIC, the tradeshow floor was less crowded, so it was a great time to meet and talk with some of the show exhibitors and admire some of the fabulous retail projects that are in the near future.

Hey, look - it's Rob!

Day Five

The day after MAPIC wrapped, a fifteen-minute boat ride from Cannes landed my husband and I on the island of Sainte-Marguerite, where marked trails took us on a botanical and historical tour of the site.

We explored Fort Royal and the Musée de la Mer, which once held the Man in the Iron Mask captive. The excursion was a nice break after the frenzy of the conference.

Day Six

A short ride through the mountains and we were in Monaco touring sites like the Monte-Carlo Casino and the Place du Palais.

While traveling to Monaco we came across Eze and spent the day in the quaint medieval Mountain-side village with that hosted a variety of of shopping, restaurants, and breath taking views.

MAPIC was overall a great experience, and it certainly proved that retail (and in particular, themed retail, or "retailtainment") is alive and well.  We met some fantastic people, saw some great sights, and learned a lot about the themed retail industry. Looking forward to next year!


Thank you Dana for the update, and thank you readers for following us on our Conference World Tour 2014.  Next year, our journeys will take us to Dubai, Anaheim, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Hong Kong, Liseberg, Montreal, Orlando and back to Cannes, so stay tuned!








Tags: JRA Journeys , JRA Team , Outside the Studio

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The Grand Hall Experience Receives Multiple Awards at 2014 IAAPA Expo

December 03, 2014

The 2015 Thea Awards will be presented March 21 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.

The 2015 Thea Awards will be presented March 21 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) recently announced that the “Grand Hall Experience", an immersive video and sound experience installed in St. Louis Union Station, has received the 2015 Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement Live Show (Limited Budget) and the IAAPA Brass Ring Award for Show Production and Entertainment/Displays and Sets. Part of a $66.3 million restoration project of the Grand Hall, the experience takes the audience from through a journey of adventure, illusion and exciting historic recreations through a series of inspiring vignettes projected on the Hall's walls and ceilings.  The Brass Ring Award was presented at last month's Expo, while the Thea Award will be presented Saturday, March 21, 2015 in a lavish ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.

The Thea Award, created in 1994, recognizes excellence in the themed entertainment industry. The recipients of the awards are judged on guest experience, innovation/originality, creativity and viability. More than a hundred achievements compete every year, and TEA bestows between 12 and 18 awards at their annual Thea Awards Gala. Technomedia, Mood Media’s Creative Innovation Division, designed this award-winning installation for the owners of Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM), Bob and Steve O’Loughlin, who were searching for a solution to drive traffic to Union Station and the adjacent bar and hotel. Technomedia provided the concept, design, media and technology turn-key to revitalize the historic landmark with the dramatic audiovisual content. Offered several times nightly and free to the public, the show is the first of its kind in the United States. The show was created and directed by John Miceli, President and Chief Creative Officer of Technomedia, in collaboration with JRA. The 2015 Thea Award makes Grand Hall Experience the seventh Technomedia project and sixth JRA project to receive this honor.

“It is an honor to be recognized with the Thea Award for the Grand Hall Experience. The large, incredibly detailed 65-foot ceilings made for a fantastic and challenging creative canvas,” said Miceli. “Along with Bob O’Loughlin, Chad Smith and Steve O’Loughlin of LHM, our collaborative team led by Drew Atienza worked meticulously to turn the lobby venue into one of St. Louis’s most exciting and popular new attractions. We plan to keep the experience fresh with new content and even allow college students of film and creative design to create their own vignettes and art for the show in 2015. We are excited to continue working with LHM bringing more new and exciting experiences to Union Station.”

The installation, designed to incorporate the architecture without disturbing it, employs 14 high-resolution projectors, 10-channel surround audio, 4k digital media servers, consolidated control, LED lighting and narration by St. Louis notables John Goodman, Bob Costas and John Hamm. For a video of The Union Station Grand Hall Experience, see below.



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World Premiere Movie: The 2014 IAAPA Expo...In Two Minutes or Less!

November 26, 2014

This year's International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo welcomed 30,500 attendees, making it the largest Expo in 17 years and the third largest in IAAPA's history.

To celebrate, we produced "The 2014 IAAPA...Expo in Two Minutes or Less," a raw, light-hearted look at the spirit of the Expo - one of our favorite weeks of the year.  We aspire to create this whimsical video annually, and hope you enjoy this world premiere (including a few cameos)!

From all of us to all celebrating, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. 

Tags: JRA Journeys , JRA Team , Project Spotlight

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Conference World Tour 2014: Thinking BIG at IAAPA

November 13, 2014

Next week, over 27,000 industry professionals will converge at Orlando, Florida’s Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) for the 96th Annual International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo. Over five days, attendees from 40 countries will stroll nine miles of expo floor aisles (540,000 square feet of space), attend 80 educational sessions and 23 exclusive tours, and enjoy networking mixers at the OCCC, Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando. This year’s theme is “Big Starts Here”, an appropriate moniker given the gradual rebound of the industry following the Great Recession and the current trend toward re-investment and re-invigoration in both attractions and cultural facilities.

JRA team members will be sharing big ideas with IAAPA participants throughout the Expo via two separate panel sesssions. The week begins with IAAPA’s annual Museum Day, which offers a day of presentations particularly relevant to museums and science centers, followed by an evening networking reception. For the third year in a row, JRA’s Shawn McCoy will present on the latest visitor experience trends and how the cultural sector can benefit from them. This year, Shawn will explore how today’s museums can better connect with their audience by breaking down barriers. Through a series of fast-paced case studies, Shawn will provide examples of how new exhibits, programs and technologies are being used to blur the lines between curators and the public, are redefining the space in which museums live and are helping foster deeper communication between cultural institutions and underserved audiences.

Shawn McCoy speaking at the 2014 Asian Attractions Show.  Image Courtesy Blooloop.

On Thursday, JRA’s Clara Rice will participate on the panel “TEA Presents Future Legends: Transforming Experience”, alongside Nickelodeon’s John Paul Guerts, Rhetroactive’s Steve Trowbridge, and BRC Imagination Arts’ Christian Lachel. Panelists will explore topics such as wearable technology, 3D printed worlds, and how the very nature of design is changing to meet the desires of a new generation of visitors. Each panelist will have three-and-a-half minutes to speak on each of three topics, and Rice will be exploring the future of interactive media, the rise of the telepresence robot, and the growing demand for ultra-luxe VIP theme park experiences. Through these rapid-fire mini-presentations, audiences will discover how the attractions industry is responding to the challenges and opportunities of the latest technologies and trends.

Clara Rice speaking at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center.

Of course, you can also visit the JRA team at Booth 1354, and, as always, JRA will have seemingly round-the-clock coverage of IAAPA on the JRA+blog, our Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and our Twitter feed. We’ll also have a special surprise for our readers the Tuesday following IAAPA, so be sure to stay tuned, and we’ll see you in Orlando!

Tags: JRA Journeys , JRA Team , Outside the Studio

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