If the West Coast Art & Frame show in Las Vegas is any indicator, 2015 is going to be quite a year.

We’re returning home both exhausted and elated.

Held at the Paris Las Vegas casino and convention hall for the second year, the show was well run as ever, and the organizers were ridiculously supportive as we marked Wild Apple’s 25th anniversary with a cocktail party at the booth. Company anniversaries can seem artificial and self-aggrandizing, but this event ended up being more meaningful than I could have imagined. It was amazing to have a gathering of friends, customers, competitors, artists, and media all hanging out and reminiscing about all we’ve been through together. And Patty gave such a beautiful, heartfelt toast on behalf of all the employees. A lovely warm fuzzy feeling.

Of course we had some fun party features like the Apple-tini Ice Luge. You pour the drink into the funnel at the top, and the drink travels down the pipe through the ice and comes out in your martini glass at the bottom. A giant Wild Apple logo was carved into it, followed by the phrase “Celebrating 25 Years.” Except what it actually said was “Celebrating 2 Years,” which made for ongoing ribbing throughout the evening (“Can’t wait ‘til your 5th!”).

The mood at the show paralleled the upbeat mood of the overall US economy.  There is still a maddening pressure on prices, but we found that buyers are giving renewed attention to the art over the price tag.  It was good to see so many wall décor buyers from major retailers attending and engaging with the artwork. I was sort of shocked to discover that more than a couple art publishers chose not to exhibit this year—at a time where we pulled out all the stops, with a bigger booth, a new catalog-magazine format, artist and company videos, trend boards, large presentation monitors…and the party of course.

I come away from the show deeply thankful for our friendly and appropriately demanding customers, our talented and creative artists, and our superstar employees. And I also come away with a boatload of optimism for the future!

*A special thanks to John Haffey for his moving birthday-related editorial in this month’s Art World News (scroll to page 8)!