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Alum designs Milwaukee Art Museum holiday ornament

Lauren Marvell smiles and holds up the ornament she designed

Lauren Marvell and her Milwaukee Art Museum ornament

Lauren Marvell ’16 (Integrated Studio Arts) was chosen to illustrate this year’s Milwaukee Art Museum holiday ornament. “Milwaukee on a Cloudy Day” features Milwaukee’s skyline against a yellow and blue background and is available for sale at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

A freelance illustrator based in Milwaukee, Marvell designs playful drawings for nationwide clients. However, many of her works celebrate Wisconsin and the Midwest and she often works with well-known local clients like Milwaukee County Parks, Moran’s Pub, Central Waters Brewing Company and even Culver’s. As part of the collaborative work she did with the Vendi Advertising Agency, Marvell’s team received a Gold Davey Award in 2021 for their work on the Marine Credit Union’s marketing campaign.

“Being able to contribute to my community by illustrating is a dream come true; if I can draw a poster and introduce folks to their new favorite spot or encourage them to try something new, I feel like I’m helping to make Milwaukee a better place,” says Marvell. “Connecting people, creating experiences, promoting the places that make our city special, and supporting one another is what keeps Milwaukee unique.”

Designing the Milwaukee Art Museum’s holiday ornament is just one of many examples of how Marvell supports the Milwaukee community. “It’s a bit of a full circle moment,” she comments, explaining that she used to work in the museum’s gift shop, then in Member & Visitor Services after college. Her friends who still work at the museum nominated and encouraged her design for this year’s ornament. “I’m truly grateful for them for this amazing opportunity,” she says.

According to a previous interview with MIAD, Marvell remembers “feeling completely out of place during freshman orientation [at MIAD]…I had only take a few art classes in high school before diving into an art-focused college.” Although she studied Integrated Studio Arts, Marvell now runs a successful freelance illustration business. During college, Marvell enrolled in her first illustration class during her senior year, which spurred her into exploring the world of illustration after graduating. She also took book making classes, and says that “filling those homemade books with drawings informed so much of my joy of illustration now.”

Find Lauren’s work around Milwaukee by keeping up with her on her website and on Instagram @lm_illustrates, or read her alumni spotlight. Learn more about the NSP: Fine Arts and Illustration majors at MIAD!


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