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Marianna Olague Receives the 2019 Michigan Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Emerging Artist Award

May 16th, 2019

Marianna Olague. Photo: Carlson Productions.

Bloomfield Hills, Mich., May 16, 2019 – Cranbrook Academy of Art and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA LLC, a leading automotive financial services provider, are pleased to announce Marianna Olague (Painting ’19) as the 2019 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Michigan Emerging Artist Award recipient.

Olague was selected from among 10 finalists, one from each department at Cranbrook Academy of Art. She is a 2019 graduate of the Painting Department.

Olague’s paintings are about the people and border town of El Paso, Texas, where she grew up. “I create narrative portraits that depict the everyday lives of my family and friends. Inspired by Mexican murals, I depict my figures realistically but have them reside within a flattened narrative space where objects and symbols tell a story. 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,” said Olague.

Of winning the Michigan Emerging Artist Award, Olague continued, “Growing up my family never traveled, we simply couldn’t afford it. I’ve spent much of my life living in one place. 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.”

As the recipient of the coveted Michigan Emerging Artist Award, Olague will participate in a two-month residency in Berlin, Germany this summer. The residency includes travel, lodging, studio space at the international cultural center, the Küenstlerhaus Bethanien, local transportation, and a $5,000 stipend. Additionally, as part of a personalized networking program, Olague will receive introductions to important members of the international art community as well as complimentary admission to Berlin museums.

The Michigan Emerging Artist Award, now in its 15th year, is part of Cranbrook’s 18-year partnership with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, which also includes premier sponsorship of Cranbrook’s STUDIO and OPEN(STUDIOS) events, as well as the 2019 Graduate Degree Exhibition of Cranbrook Academy of Art at Cranbrook Art Museum.

The company also supports the Academy, and partner schools in Texas, 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, Mich., and its business center in Fort Worth, Texas.

“When you travel the halls of the Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Headquarters, it’s easy to feel as if you’re visiting an art museum, thanks to the talented Cranbrook artists who share their work in our Experiencing Perspectives program,” 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.

Each finalist presented to a jury while showcasing their work at Cranbrook Art Museum. In addition to jurors from Cranbrook Academy of Art and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Elysia-Borowy-Reeder, Executive Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, participated in the selection process.

“We are incredibly grateful to Mercedes-Benz Financial Services for their continued support of the arts,” said Susan R. Ewing, the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Director of Cranbrook Academy of Art. “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. Each recipient returns from this trip even more grateful than when they left. We look forward to hearing about Marianna’s experience when she returns.”

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

Media Contacts:
Julie Fracker
Director of Communications
Cranbrook Academy of Art

Heidi Hall
Corporate Communications Manager
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services

Photo Credit: Carlson Productions