Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Emerging Artist Award provides funding to 2021 MFA graduate


Clint Bargers, who earned a MFA in studio art (sculpture) in May 2021, is the recipient of the Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) 2021 Emerging Artist Award. This prestigious award is given annually to an art student or recent graduate of TCU or SMU.

“With the grant,…I bought a new kiln, built a deck and patio for it, and had it professionally wired,” said Bargers. “I got the kiln up and running in late July.”

Bargers says he has several works in progress—some of which are thanks to an unexpected source of inspiration.

“While I was waiting for the kiln to arrive and be wired, I started oil painting with some extra canvas I had left over from a stretcher build job,” said Bargers. “I immediately realized I should incorporate oil paint into my practice.”

Using the kiln, Bargers has started making ceramic frames and corners for his oil paintings.

Using the kiln, Bargers has started making ceramic frames and corners for his oil paintings.

“It is…a whole new body of work that would not have been possible without the generous financial support of MBFS,” he said.

In a typical year, the MBFS Emerging Artist Award winner also receives a two-month residency in Berlin, which includes a personalized networking program, free admission to Berlin museums, and introductions to important members of the renowned Berlin art community. Due to the pandemic, the opportunity to travel overseas was temporarily suspended.

Bargers was selected from among five finalists for the award by a jury that includes Katie LaLone, brand identity, design & art programs specialist at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services; Nick Bontrager, associate professor of art; and Rachel Livedalen, associate professor of art.

This work in progress is ceramic and oil on canvas.

Dick Lane, director of the School of Art, says the MBFS award is impactful to a young artist.

“All of the finalists were strong candidates for the Emerging Artist Award,” said Lane. “It’s lifechanging to be able to buy the things you need to make art. It makes an artist’s workspace really special.”

Bargers was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colo. In 2008, he received a BA in visual and critical studies/sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has shown and curated in Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Italy and Dallas. Follow his work on Instagram (@clint_bargers).