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Cranbrook Academy of Art Announces 2024 Student Awards

May 14th, 2024

Cranbrook Academy of Art 2024 Commencement Ceremony. Photo by PD Rearick.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICH., May 14, 2024 – On Friday, Cranbrook Academy of Art conferred MFA degrees upon 59 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 2024 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: Meli Bandera (Fiber 2024) who will travel to Pocoapoco, a cultural organization in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico, where they will participate in Sur o No Sur, a three-week residency based around collective learning and storytelling. Eel Costello (Sculpture 2024) will participate as an artist-in-residence this summer at Praxis in Cleveland, Ohio, creating work on a TC2 loom, where they will continue their work of weaving the tintypes they make documenting the queer community. Savannah Jackson (Photography 2025) will attend the “Black Portraitures: Shifting Paradigms” conference in Venice, Italy, in conjunction with the Venice Biennale. Aubrey Theobald (Sculpture 2024) will use the funds to partially finance a trip to Berlin, Germany, to prepare for her Fulbright fellowship that will begin in the fall of 2024. The shared award recognizes and supports the work of innovative and inspired Academy students. The endowment fund was established by Bonnie Larson 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 1996–2002. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy and Art Museum from 1986–2000.

The 2024 Cranbrook Art Museum Purchase Award was presented to Evan Mazellan (Painting 2024) for his work Wrestlers (After Carl). This work was on view in the 2024 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 Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts Scholarship was presented to two students this year. Jessica Harvey (4D Design 2025) will use it to take the workshop “Playing with Trash: Building a Ukulele from Scratch” which aligns with the artist’s values surrounding sustainability, craftsmanship, and the intersection of art and music. Freya Yang (Metalsmithing 2024) will take the workshop “Joinery 1: How To Use Complex Joinery in Furniture/Sculptural Forms in Jewelry” to explore how to use special knowledge of mechanics and structure to assemble wood materials integral to her work.

The Anderson Ranch Scholarship was awarded to two students, Emiri Fujimoto (Sculpture 2025) and Elena Gray (Print Media 2025).

The Ox-Bow Summer Scholarship was awarded to Sun-Jae Park (Painting 2025). They will receive funding to take the class, “Things Become Things: Sculpture and Site-Specific Installation” with Devin T. Mays at the Ox-Bow summer school program based in Saugatuck, Michigan.

The Stewart Thomson Fellowship at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts was awarded to Sehrish Hussain (Print Media 2025), who will take the “Batik and Dye Painting and Printing Techniques” workshop with Addoley Dzegede. The workshop aligns with Hussain’s work in the intersection of print and fiber and will teach her new techniques and allow her to explore the cultural significance of Batik.

The Gallery A Award was presented to Shu Wang (3D Design 2025). This award provides funding for a student to exhibit their work in the entry space in the Academy of Art Administration office. Wang plans to create a lamp from copper wires using a loop weaving technique.

The Meredith Beau CAA ’97 and Scott Beau Materials Fund was awarded to first-year student Shu Wang (3D Design 2025), and second-year students Olivia Guterson (Painting 2024)Borui Jiang (2D Design 2024), and Izzy Krompegel-Anliker (3D Design 2024). This gift is to be used to assist students in any discipline with purchasing materials.

The Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation Materials Award was awarded to first-year students Aleya Austin (Ceramics 2025)Stina Baudin (Fiber 2025), Myiesha Gordon Beales (Ceramics 2025)Hyunsoo Kang (Ceramics 2025)Fanni Somogyi (Metalsmithing 2025)Ziqi Yuan (Metalsmithing 2025), and second-year students Ruqayyah Albaari (Ceramics 2024)Meli Bandera (Fiber 2024)Taylor Childs (Fiber 2024)Nicholas Elbakidze (Sculpture 2024)Lisa Farris (Ceramics 2024)Hanna Ryynänen (Metalsmithing 2024)Sara Sadawi (Ceramics 2024)Michael Takahata (Ceramics 2024), and Freya Yang (Metalsmithing 2024). The Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation funds grants for materials to students working in craft disciplines.

The Award for Sustainability recognizes artists engaged in environmental sustainability projects. This year, Miles Gracey (3D Design 2025) received the award, which he will use toward his work in woodworking.

The Academy Director’s Award was awarded to Jillian Blackwell (Painting 2024). The Director’s Award recognizes excellence throughout two years of study at the Academy.

The Watershed Center for the Ceramics Arts Award was awarded to Chiedza Pasipanodya (Sculpture 2025). 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 Ena Kantardžić (4D Design 2024). The award provides funding to students who demonstrate studio practices that conceptualize themselves 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.