It’s been

almost 18 months since our last Artists & Visionaries Awards (or AVAs, as we like to call them). We promised you a revamped program with a simpler application process, a new location, and an even bigger celebration. We got our group together and have been “re-imagining” an awards program that will become the pinnacle of achievement for nail technicians. We asked ourselves: How can we get more nail technicians to throw their hats into the ring and “compete” for the title of Nail Technician or Salon of the Year? How can we create an event that is an industry spectacle, fun and inspiring whether you’re a nominee or a shrinking violet trying to muster the courage to participate? How can we show the whole industry that nail care professionals epitomize the highest goals, participate heavily in their communities, and push themselves to achieve technical excellence? We’ve answered some of our own questions, but we’re not completely finished.

We’ve decided to award just one category of the AVAs this year — Nail Technician of the Year — and hold off on the other categories until next year. An entry form is in this issue and on our website ( The process to submit your entry has been streamlined, but the adulation and exposure you’ll receive as a finalist or winner will be anything but streamlined. The awards program itself will take place during the Las Vegas Hair & Nail Conference June 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (we’ll be doing the awards on stage right before the winners of the Nail Olympics are announced).

The prize package this year includes a paid trip to California to do the nails for a NAILS cover, as well as a cash prize of $1,000, plus a bunch of other goodies from our sponsoring company, which I’m proud to announce is Creative Nail Design. Creative’s co-founder Jan Arnold says she not only loves the concept of the AVAs, honoring nail technicians for their artistry and professionalism, she loves the name. “Just what our industry needs,” she told me, “and what Creative Nail Design stands for.”

So, please join us in Las Vegas. There’s going to be so much to do that weekend, whether you want to attend a growing and exciting show, compete alongside nail technicians from all over the world at the Nail Olympics, or find yourself standing next to two other outstanding nail technicians as one of the finalists in this year’s Nail Technician of the Year. Then, mark your calendar for next year’s totally revamped program to be held during the same show in June 2004.

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