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Marianna Olague 2019 Michigan Emerging Artist Award Recipient

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Marianna Olague in front of a recent narrative portrait featuring her sister.

Marianna Olague of Cranbrook Academy of Art Named 2019 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Michigan Emerging Artist Award Recipient

Exploring the art scene in Germany. Meeting other artists—both aspiring and accomplished. Travel, lodging and studio space at the international cultural center Künstlerhaus Bethanien, along with a $5,000 stipend.

These are the perks that await Marianna Olague of Cranbrook Academy of Art, who has been offered a two-month residency as the school’s 2019 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Michigan Emerging Artist Award recipient.

Olague, a 2019 graduate of the Painting Department, was selected from among 10 finalists, one from each department at Cranbrook Academy of Art, who each presented to a jury while showcasing their work at Cranbrook Art Museum.

“I create narrative portraits that depict the everyday lives of my family and friends,” she says, describing her work that portrays the people and border town of El Paso, Texas, where she grew up. “I saturate my forms with bright hues, a color palette influenced by the rich culture and landscape of Mexico. As a result, each element is distinct and of equal importance mimicking traditional muralism and storytelling.”

“Growing up my family never traveled, as we simply couldn’t afford it, and I’ve spent much of my life living in one place,” Olague said. “Being accepted to Cranbrook was my first move away from home, and it has afforded me many opportunities. Now, thanks to Cranbrook and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, I get to travel abroad, which is far more than I could’ve bargained for when I chose to pursue graduate school. It’s truly amazing.”

The company also supports the Academy through its Experiencing Perspectives art program, which encompasses annual art exhibitions, tours, community conversations and other events. The Experiencing Perspectives exhibition is a year-long display of student and recent graduate art pieces throughout the Mercedes-Benz Financial Services headquarters in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

“When you travel the halls of our headquarters, it’s easy to feel as if you’re visiting an art museum, thanks to the talented Cranbrook artists who share their work,” said Peter Zieringer, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. “For decades, our company has placed immense value on the positive influence of art in the workplace. Our partnership with Cranbrook and other schools provides emerging artists with career-advancing opportunities, and our employees with added inspiration and motivation in their daily work.”

Zieringer continued, “Our congratulations to Marianna on her accomplishments. With this award, we are pleased to be able to shine a spotlight on her talent and hard work.”

In addition to Olague’s prize, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services also awarded a $1,000 New Beginnings Award to each of the nine remaining Emerging Artist Finalists, including: True Harrigan, Fiber; Mark Wise, Architecture; Brian Vu, Ceramics; Tiffany Danielle Elliott, Sculpture; Tatum Gentry, Metalsmithing; Lorena Cruz Santiago, Photography; Brenden Lovejoy, 2D Design; Versia Harris, Print Media; Sunny Kim, 3D Design.

“We are incredibly grateful to Mercedes-Benz Financial Services for their continued support of the arts,” said Academy Director Susan R. Ewing. “This award provides our students with an opportunity they simply could not receive anywhere else. In addition to the financial award, our students gain a full roster of new connections, and each recipient returns from this trip even more grateful than when they left.”

Learn more about Marianna Olague and her work through her website.


Julia Jalowiec 2019 Texas Emerging Artist Award Recipient

Monday, May 6th, 2019

Janet Marzett congratulates an excited Julia Jalowiec as she is named the 2019 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Texas Emerging Artist Award recipient.

SMU’s Julia Jalowiec Named 2019 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Texas Emerging Artist Award Recipient

A two-month residency in Berlin, Germany, awaits Julia Jalowiec, Southern Methodist University (SMU) Meadows School of the Arts alumni, who has been named the 2019 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Texas Emerging Artist Award recipient.

As recipient of the coveted award, Jalowiec will receive travel, lodging, studio space at the international cultural center Künstlerhaus Bethanien, transportation and a $5,000 stipend. Additionally, one of the most exciting elements is introductions to important members of the renowned Berlin art community, thanks to a personalized networking program, as well as free admission to Berlin museums.

“From the moment we met Julia, it was evident that she embodies the award’s core values of passion, integrity, respect and discipline,” said Eileen Maxson, senior lecturer of photography with SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and a jury member for the 2019 Emerging Artist Award. “In her work, Julia brings levity to weighty subject matter, like mortality, with conceptual wit and a playful approach to mediums and materials. We were moved by Julia’s twofold commitment to art as an outlet for personal transformation and as an opportunity to impact and educate her community.”

Jalowiec, who earned her B.F.A. from SMU in 2018, depicts human figures using cast iron, ceramics, printmaking and painting mediums. Her works have been displayed in several exhibits across the country.

“The figures I form with my hands see, feel and embody my pain,” Jalowiec has said about her artwork. “My figurative works become friends as I create people whom I have imagined and would like to get to know. Balancing the grotesque with occasional humor, I attempt to capture the dichotomy that life can bring as I experience joy with the realization of my own mortality.”

“We have always placed immense value on the influence art has in the workplace,” says Janet Marzett, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Vice President of Operations Americas. “In addition to fostering connections between the company and our community, this partnership with SMU and TCU exposes our employees to new and different perspectives, and inspires creative thought within our business environment—while of course allowing these artists to explore and enhance their crafts. We’re thrilled to continue this innovative partnership to support emerging artists.”

Jalowiec’s work will be among the pieces on display as part of the 2019-2020 Experiencing Perspectives display debuting this fall. Her work was also included in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 Experiencing Perspectives exhibits.


Brandon Bullard

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

"#29: Midnight Oil", Brandon Bullard, mixed media, front and side view
"#29: Midnight Oil", mixed media, front and side view

Brandon Bullard’s new piece of commissioned art tracks the timeless appeal of Mercedes-Benz

There are certain pieces of art that make an indelible mark on the viewer, and such was the case with an installation created by Brandon Bullard for the 2016 Experiencing Perspectives art exhibition, hosted by Mercedes-Benz Financial Services at their offices in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The annual exhibition features the work of students and graduates of Cranbrook Academy of Art, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, as part of a long-standing partnership with the company.

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Car engine parts shine in new “Wallwork” installation, Ignite

Monday, August 20th, 2018

Celebrated French painter Henri Matisse once said, “A large part of the beauty of a picture arises from the struggle which an artist wages with his limited medium.”

Matisse, who once designed an entire church—Chapelle du Rosaire—and everything in it, clearly understood that every medium and each canvas large and small presents its own limits and challenges for the artist. The opportunity of the artistic struggle was one the students of Colette Laliberté’s Painting in the Expanded Field class at OCAD University, an art, design and media university, soon came to understand when they selected a medium they had never before used.

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Return on installation

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

We all know the term “return on investment.” It tells us whether an investment has been profitable. But what about the promotion of art and culture? Can we measure the “return on installation” in euros and cents – or in a very different kind of currency?


M-B Financial uses art to sell the abstract

Monday, December 14th, 2015

DETROIT — A slender, fashionable, young woman sporting a pixie haircut stands next to five marionettes, cut from tar paper in silhouette style, hanging on a wall at the suburban Detroit offices of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.

The woman is artist Ivy Johnson. She’s there to discuss her stringed creations with the captive finance company’s employees. “Most want to know: What was my inspiration?” Johnson says. (Hint: She calls the grouping Imaginary Friends.)

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Digital Painting workshop brings creativity to corporate setting

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Staff at Mercedes Benz Financial Services (MBFS) in Mississauga took part in a unique digital painting workshop in November. OCAD University faculty member Veronika Szkudlarek, accompanied by student Dahae Song, visited MBFS offices for an exploration of the fundamentals of Digital Painting and Expanded Animation (DXPA).

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Trinity Spadina MPP Han Dong recognizes OCAD University in the Legislature

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Trinity Spadina MPP Han Dong rose in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to recognize OCAD University’s contribution to the cultural community following the opening of the exhibition Experiencing Perspectives at Mercedes Benz Financial Services.

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OCAD University art exhibition opens at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Ninety-nine works by 74 OCAD University students, alumni and faculty were unveiled October 21 in the Mississauga offices of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS). At the opening of the Experiencing Perspectives exhibition, President and CEO Stefan Karrenbauer thanked the artists for bringing creativity and art appreciation to the workplace.

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Berlin Inspires Cranbrook Graduate

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Emerging Artist explores unexpected contrast between concept and materials

Partnering with local art institutions allows Mercedes-Benz Financial Services in the U.S. and Canada to create partnerships that inspire diversity of thought and new ways of thinking. In addition to the exhibitions that display the artists’ work, each year one student from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is awarded the opportunity to work in Berlin, Germany for two months.

The goal is to support emerging artists through more than just financial donations. By providing artists with an entire experience, the company promotes diversity and a global perspective on artwork.

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Art program could help shape auto industry’s next creative minds

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Thursday night, I went to a fundraiser, called #onthefridge, for Art Road. This group arranges supplies and teachers for art classes and programs for schoolchildren in Detroit and southeast Michigan.

It does more than that, but that’s the core mission: Let kids have an art class. Too many schools across the U.S. have had to cut those classes.

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Mercedes-Benz Financial Services’ 15th Annual Experiencing Perspectives Art Exhibition

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services’ Experiencing Perspectives art program creates an environment for employees in which contemporary art plays a large role. The idea behind the program is to invigorate creative and inspirational work. The program offers annual art exhibitions, art tours, community conversations and other events.

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Of Shoes, Awards, Patrons, and Fracture Fairies

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

On last month’s blog, from my post-surgical hospital bed, I wrote that there were many fine Detroit literary events that I would regretfully miss in September due to my fractured ankle. I’m home now, a 4-lb cast to the good, not getting out much, but I was thrilled to attend the 2014 Knight Art Detroit Challenge Grant Awards October 6 at Detroit’s Fillmore Theatre. It makes me proud to be part of the Detroit artistic community, with amazing ideas percolating up from everywhere – new and veteran groups, individual artists, literary, dance, drumming, neighborhood art projects – all being awarded for their creativity by the Knight Foundation’s vision and generosity.

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Cranbrook Academy of Art students receive more than $100,000 in awards

Monday, August 25th, 2014

On the eve of its 2014 commencement ceremonies, Cranbrook Academy of Art celebrated another year of outstanding work by its faculty and graduate students at its annual Academy Awards Night on May 8.

Before a gathering of more than 200 students, families, friends and donors in deSalle auditorium at Cranbrook Art Museum, the Academy conferred more than $100,000 in fellowships, grants, awards and scholarships, including nine distinguished awards for artistic excellence. The awards are designed to support study at the Academy and to aid 2014 graduates in the transition from student to practicing artist.

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