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

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.

Kari Cholnoky, a 2014 graduate of the Painting Department, received the Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Emerging Artist Award which recognizes artistic promise with a grant and accommodations to live and work in Berlin, Germany. Cholnoky was selected from among 10 finalists and will be offered a two-month stay in Berlin from July 1 to August 31, 2014. She will have the chance to participate in a personalized networking program with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services’ Berlin partner, the Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien, which includes introductions to members of the international art community.

The $10,000 Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship was awarded to Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen, a 2014 graduate of the Photography Department. This award was created by the philanthropist, art collector, author and curator, Toby Devan Lewis, who has been an avid supporter of young and emerging artists. She created the Toby Fund to give graduating fine arts students at more than 15 schools of art around the country unrestricted grants with which to begin their careers.

The Robert C. Larson Art, Design, and Architecture Venture Fund was awarded to current Academy students: Sheida Soleimani (Photography) to be used for a research trip to Venezuela; Jean Egger (2D Design) for typography workshops in the Netherlands; and Rosalind Tallmadge (Painting) for a summer class at Ox-Bow. The shared award of $5,000 recognizes and supports the work of innovative and inspired Academy first-year students. The endowment fund was established by Bonnie Larson to celebrate Robert C. Larson’s commitment to Cranbrook. 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 Stewart Thomson Fellowship to the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts was presented to Henrik Soerensen, a current student in the Sculpture Department. Soerensen will attend a two-week workshop with Jason Pollen to work in fabric and paper at the Maine-based school.

The Gallery A Award was presented to David Uthus, a current student in the Photography Department. This award funds the creation and installation of work by a student in the entrance foyer of the Academy’s administration offices for the upcoming academic year.

The 2014 Cranbrook Art Museum Purchase Award was presented to EunJi Choi, a 2014 graduate of the Metalsmithing Department. Choi’s work was on display in the 2014 Graduate Degree Exhibition at Cranbrook Art Museum and was selected for purchase by the Museum Committee. Choi’s work will be accessioned into the permanent collection of Cranbrook Art Museum.

The Cranbrook Educational Community President’s Award was established last year by Cranbrook’s President, Dominic DiMarco. It recognizes those artists engaged in environmental sustainability projects. The $1,000 award was given to Anthony Warnick in the Sculpture Department for his efforts to turn heat energy into human energy.

The Academy Director’s Award of $1,000 was awarded to Daniel Greenburg (Print Media ’14) for not only his extraordinary work at the Academy but also his fellowship and support of the student body. The Director’s Award recognizes excellence throughout two years of study at the Academy.

The Chrissy Award is a new award this year, established by the father of graduate Victoria Shaheen (Ceramics ’13). The award provides summer travel opportunities for a current Ceramics student. Christine Rebhuhn (Ceramics ’15) will use the award to travel to the European Ceramic Workcentre in the Netherlands.

Also new this year is the Studio Council 555 Summer Residency Award, established by the Academy’s student-run Studio Council to support a student for the summer as they create work in the 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios, housed in a former Detroit police precinct.

Twenty-eight students, who will continue their second year of study at the Academy in 2014-2015, were awarded Merit Scholarships in recognition of their talent and for meeting high standards during the past year. Merit Scholarships are supported by gifts and independent sponsors, including alumni, private philanthropists, corporations, company foundations and professional organizations.

Cranbrook Academy of Art also continues to remain a top-producer of Fulbright scholars, with graduating student Kelley O’Brien (3D Design ’14) receiving an award this year for continued study in the Philippines.

Family members of Academy alumni and friends of Cranbrook continue their strong support of our institution with the creation of three new endowed scholarships in 2014, each of which will be awarded for the first time next year. The George Thomas Williams Scholarship has been established by Christopher and Dian Williams in memory of Christopher’s son who was admitted to the Academy’s Class of 2009. It will be awarded to a student in the Sculpture Department. The Jaymes B. Leahy CAA’90Scholarship has been established by Ann Leahy, Jaymes’s mother, in his memory. Jaymes was a graduate of the Fiber Department. Finally, the children of Marvin and Betty Danto established the Marvin and Betty Danto Scholarship in honor of their parents, local art and design enthusiasts and collectors.

And finally, we are pleased to announce the presentation of our Distinguished Alumni Award to Academy graduate Ed Fella (Design ’87). While he cannot be with us at our Commencement ceremony this year, we look forward to welcoming him for a series of events in the fall, at which time we will formally present him with his award.

Cranbrook Academy of Art
Cranbrook Academy of Art is the country’s top ranked, graduate-only program in architecture, design and fine art. Each year, just 75 students are invited to study and live on our landmark Saarinen-designed campus, which features private studios, state-of-the art workshops, a renowned Art Museum, and 300 acres of forests, lakes, and streams, all a short drive from the red-hot art, design, and music scene of Detroit. The focus at Cranbrook is on studio practice in one of 10 disciplines: Architecture, 2D and 3D Design, Ceramics, Fiber, Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Print Media, and Sculpture. The program is anchored by celebrated Artists- and Designers-in-Residence, one for each discipline, all of whom live and practice on campus alongside our students. For more information, visit us at