Three Meadows Graduate Students Win Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) Texas Art Awards

Olivia Martin (M.F.A. '15), Melissa Tran (M.F.A. '14 ) and Kate Jarboe (M.F.A. '15) win awards following year-long display of their work at MBFS Experiencing Perspectives Art Exhibition

L to R: Jeff Gartland, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services; SMU student Olivia Martin; Noah Simblist, chair of the Meadows Division of Art

Three current and recent graduate students in the Division of Art were among six artists at TCU and SMU to receive Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Texas Art Awards this spring. The SMU awards were presented in a ceremony at the Meadows School on May 16. Winners included Olivia Martin (M.F.A. ’15), $5000; Kate Jarboe (M.F.A. ’15), $2500; and Melissa Tran (M.F.A. ’14), $2500.

In addition to receiving the monetary award, the students had their artwork featured as part of the Experiencing Perspectives Art Exhibition at the MBFS facility in Fort Worth during the past year. Employees voted on the winners.

The press release from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services follows:

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Doubles Support for Graduating Art Students

Annual awards program gives a combined $20,000 to emerging artists

Paying off debt and setting up an art studio are options some North Texas artists now have after receiving a Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Texas Art Award. Recently the company, which has Business Center Operations in Fort Worth, gave out a total of $20,000 to three artists at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth on April 28 and three artists at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas on May 9. This is an increase from the total of $10,000 that has been awarded in previous years.

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) sponsors the Experiencing Perspectives art program at four universities located in the United States and Canada, where MBFS has corporate offices. The program includes financial sponsorship, artist awards and an annual art exhibition in each location. The company started the program with SMU and TCU at its Fort Worth facility in 2008.

The awardees appreciate the fact that MBFS does not put any limitations on how the money can be spent. Winner of a $5,000 award, Duoc Le of Irving, Texas is a recent alumni of TCU in Sculpture.  Now a graduate student at the University of North Texas, he plans to use the award to pay off debt. Alyssa Hawkins, of Fort Worth, plans to use the $2,500 she won to set up her art studio now that she has recently received her MFA from TCU. “There are a lot of expenses in setting up an art practice and studio, so this will be very beneficial to me.”

Olivia Martin, who is a 2015 SMU Master of Fine Arts graduate, plans to return to her hometown of New Orleans and use her $5,000 award to set up her painting practice. “Because of the generosity of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, there’s no lag between leaving school and accruing the resources necessary for a studio practice; we can jump into making art right out of the gate,” she added. Melissa Tran, who won a $2,500 award, graduated in 2014 and taught Introduction to Digital Arts at SMU during the past year. She plans to use the award to pay for her participation in The Arctic Circle art and science residency program this summer.

In addition to the students receiving a monetary award, their artwork has been part of an exhibition at the MBFS facility in Fort Worth during the past year. This month, their art will be taken down and in June approximately 100 pieces of new art selected from SMU and TCU students and alumni will be installed throughout the MBFS facility for the 2015-2016 Experiencing Perspectives Art Exhibition. The exhibition helps young artists establish themselves by displaying their work, and also benefits the company’s employees by inspiring creativity, innovative thinking and diversity of thought in the workplace.

“The MBFS awards offer a tremendous opportunity to SMU students and alumni. While we prepare students with the technical, conceptual and organizational skills to succeed as professional artists, this kind of support generously gives emerging artists some much-needed leverage to launch their careers,” said Noah Simblist, chair and associate professor of the Division of Art at SMU Meadows School of the Arts.

SMU and TCU art professors selected 10 finalists in the competition, but the final decision was up to MBFS employees.

“Mercedes-Benz Financial Services employees at our Fort Worth facility walked through the building and voted for the winners electronically,” said MBFS Senior Manager of the Legal Department Dawn Beck, who presented the awards to the TCU students. “Our company has a rich tradition of supporting local art schools. It is our pleasure to showcase art from TCU and SMU throughout our building.”

Sally Packard, director of the TCU School of Art, noted that, “Partnerships between entities, such as Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and area colleges, are paramount for the success of students as future citizens. Their generosity, in the form of the cash awards and the yearly rotating exhibitions in their headquarters, is evidence of their commitment to our students. Their support particularly resonates with the School of Art at TCU as it validates our students' dreams and aspirations as future artists.”

On November 5, 2015, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services will host the opening reception for its annual Experiencing Perspectives Art Exhibition at its Fort Worth Business Center. This event is open to the community. Artwork is available for sale through the artists and can be claimed by new owners when the exhibition is over.

For more information about Mercedes-Benz Financial Services’ Experiencing Perspectives art program and community art partnerships visit:

Twitter: @MercedesBenzFS #mbfsART
Instagram: #mbfsART

About Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA LLC

Mercedes‐Benz Financial Services USA LLC, headquartered in Farmington Hills, Mich., with Business Center Operations in Fort Worth, Texas, provides brand‐specific financial products and services for Mercedes‐Benz and smart automotive dealers and their retail customers. In the U.S. trucking industry, it conducts business as Daimler Truck Financial and provides flexible financial products and services for Daimler Trucks North America commercial vehicles branded Freightliner, Western Star, Thomas Built Bus and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc. Mercedes‐Benz Financial Services USA LLC serves as the headquarters for operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, and has approximately 1,800 employees throughout the Americas. It is a company of the Daimler Financial Services Group, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, which does business in 40 countries and has an employee base of approximately 8,800 people worldwide. Daimler Financial Services is one of the leading financial services organizations worldwide and was named one of the 25 World’s Best Multinational Workplaces by the Great Place To work Institute in 2014. For more information, please visit or

About the Meadows School of the Arts

The Meadows School of the Arts, formally established in 1969 at SMU, is one of the foremost arts education institutions in the United States. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in advertising, art, art history, arts management and arts entrepreneurship, communication studies, creative computation, dance, film and media arts, journalism, music and theatre.

The goal of the Meadows School is to prepare students to meet the demands of professional careers. It is also committed to providing an ongoing opportunity for all SMU students to grow in the understanding and appreciation of the arts. The Meadows School is a leader in developing innovative outreach and community engagement programs, challenging its students to make a difference locally and globally by developing connections between art entrepreneurship and social change.

About TCU School of Art

TCU’s School of Art fosters excellence in teaching, creativity, and scholarship while affirming visual art and design as an integral part of a complete liberal arts education. The School of Art provides a comprehensive education for all undergraduate art majors, which includes intensive professional instruction as well as graduate level professional preparation, within an atmosphere of openness, tolerance and diversity. The Faculty’s goal is to promote critical, artistic, and intellectual development in the individual, with the goal of creating thoughtful citizens.