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Cranbrook Academy of Art Announces 2023 Student Awards

May 15th, 2023

2023 Commencement. Photos by PD Rearick.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICH., May 15, 2023 – On Friday, Cranbrook Academy of Art conferred MFA and M.Arch degrees upon 68 graduating students during its annual Commencement ceremony. The Academy is also pleased to announce several awards presented to our students. The awards are all designed to support study at the Academy and to aid our 2023 graduates in the transition from student to practicing artist. We are grateful to the individuals and organizations who continue to see the importance of supporting today’s artists, architects, and designers.The Robert C. Larson Venture Award was given to current Academy students: Chris Baker (2D Design 2023) who will travel to San Antonio to visit the studios of Joshua Welker, Matt and Elizabeth Welker, and Tobin Smith Architects. Ena Kantardžić (4D Design 2024) will use the funds to produce the performance-based project wandering in their home city of Derventa, located in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Rachel Wittels (Fiber 2023) will use the funds to attend a two-week summer residency at the Praxis Fiber Workshop Digital Weaving Lab run by Cathryn Amidei in Cleveland, Ohio. Rashaun Rucker (Print Media 2024) will use the funds to attend the “Perspective on Relief Woodcarving” workshop at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. And finally, Yasmeen Nematt Alla (Sculpture 2024) will use the funds to travel to Anderson Ranch to take a course to expand her practice, that is rooted in community and communal making.The Larson Venture Award recognizes and supports the work of innovative and inspired Academy students. The endowment fund was established by Bonnie Larson, patron and former Board member of the Academy of Art and Art Museum, to celebrate Robert C. Larson’s commitment to Cranbrook. Robert Larson was a long-time volunteer leader and donor at Cranbrook and served as the Chair of the Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2002. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy and Art Museum from 1986 to 2000.The 2023 Museum Purchase Award was presented to Fidelis Joseph (Painting 2023) for his work After the Northeast. This work was on view in the 2023 Graduate Degree Exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum and was selected for purchase by the Museum Committee. The work will be accessioned into the permanent collection of Cranbrook Art Museum. The Art Museum also accessioned the work Forbidden Fruit by Akea Brionne (Photography 2023).The Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts Scholarship was presented to two students this year. Katie Mongoven (Fiber 2024) will use it to take the “Transformative Adornment; Stitched Interventions with Textiles” workshop taught by Colleen Merrill, where she will learn more about repurposing and transformation as new approaches to her work. Delia Touché (Print Media 2023) will take the “Sweetgrass Basket Weaving” workshop to help further her connection to this Indigenous practice so that she can incorporate it into her work.The Anderson Ranch Scholarship was given to two students, Yasmeen Nematt Alla (Sculpture 2024) and Hailey Urbano (Print Media 2024).The Ox-Bow Summer Scholarship was awarded to Breanne Johnson (3D Design 2023). She will receive funding to take the class, “The Ancient Future: Clay and Sound with Israel Davis and Douglas Ewart” at the Ox-Bow summer school program based in Saugatuck, Michigan.The Ox-Bow Summer Residency was awarded to Ian Solomon (Photography 2024), which will provide full access to all facilities and artists at Ox-Bow during the three-week course period.The Stewart Thomson Fellowship at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts was awarded to Abby Cipar (Fiber 2024), who will take the Metals workshop, “The Body: Material Exploration,” this summer. The course is taught by Jina Seo and will explore, “the possibilities of expressing interest, identity, and visual representation of the body” through non-traditional materials.The Gallery A Award was presented to Martin Venezky (Photography 2024), a first-year student in the Photography department. This award provides funding for a student to exhibit their work in the entry space in the Academy of Art Administration Office. Venezky plans to create a signature large photo construction in the space filled with loosely-gridded photo prints, using Gallery A as its own subject, bringing in materials and light sources and setting up photographs that examine corners, edges, materials, light, and structure.The Meredith Beau CAA ’97 and Scott Beau Materials Fund Award was given to first-year students Evan Mazellan (Painting 2024) and Brendan Page (2D Design 2024), and second-year students Yuyu Chen (3D Design 2023)Charles Crowell (Sculpture 2023), and Yi Shi (Architecture 2023). This gift is to be used to assist students in any discipline with purchasing materials.The Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation Materials Award was given to first-year students Katie Mongoven (Fiber 2024)Michael Takahata (Ceramics 2024)Freya Yang (Metalsmithing 2024)Cristal Zeballos (Ceramics 2024), and second-year students Erika Nj Allen (Ceramics 2023), Tom Caycedo (Ceramics 2023)Megha Gupta (Ceramics 2023)Alex Lewis (Ceramics 2023)Kiki Liu (Ceramics 2023)Mengjie Mo (Metalsmithing 2023)Miku Saeki (Metalsmithing 2023)Rachel Wittels (Fiber 2023), and Chen Zou (Ceramics 2023). The Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation funds grants for materials to students working in craft-based disciplines.The Cranbrook Educational Community President’s Award was established by Cranbrook’s former President Dominic DiMarco and is continued by the current President Aimeclaire Roche. It recognizes those artists engaged in environmental sustainability projects. This year, Kayla Powers (Fiber 2023) received the award, which she will use to continue to support her efforts as a sustainable artist and educator.The Academy Director’s Award was awarded to William Lanzillo (Sculpture 2023). The Director’s Award recognizes excellence and community engagement throughout two years of study at the Academy.The Watershed Center for the Ceramics Arts Award was awarded to Jillian Blackwell (Painting 2024). Watershed’s Summer Residency sessions in Edgecomb, Maine, offer artists who work with clay uninterrupted time to focus on their practices in their state-of-the-art ceramics studio.The Hope Award was awarded to Izzy Krompegel-Anliker (3D Design 2024). The award provides funding to students who demonstrate studio practices that conceptualize them as anti-capitalist/pro-humanity in the spirited tradition of historical materialism.Together, these awards represent tens of thousands of dollars in earned gifts for our current students, and we remain grateful to all who have contributed to their continued funding.