Man in the City Kicks-Off 10 Year Anniversary with Axalta Partnership

By | Newsroom

DETROIT, January 9, 2019 – The thought-provoking and highly-recognizable public art exhibit Man in the City is kicking off its 10-year anniversary celebration with a series of partnerships, events, and installations. The year-long narrative launches this month with a partnership with the world’s largest coatings manufacturer, Axalta.

This coming together of creativity and manufacturing will be celebrated at Axalta’s North American International Auto Show Charity Preview event, January 18, 2019, at Cobo Hall, Detroit.

Providing support to the Sauvé Art Foundation’s work with local arts education programming was a natural synergy for the company and future design and creative talent for the region. “I am continually impressed by the impact John Sauvé’s Man in the City art programs have made on children in Detroit. We are proud to work with him as he celebrates his 10-year milestone and look forward to supporting his efforts,” said John Wray, OEM Global Marketing Manager, Axalta.

Man in the City’s sculpture installation was the first public art displayed on the Highline in New York City, Subsequently, the elevated park has become the top destination in New York City.   Following the New York Exhibit, Sauvé brought the Man in the City’s sculpture installation to Detroit and has since installed more than 100 sculptures across the skyline of Detroit. Each piece has created place in the City of Detroit and a must look-up opportunity to soak up the architecture of the city.

The Sauvé Art foundation partners with non-profits, schools and youth centers to create unique arts education opportunities that incorporate the Man in the City’s sculpture installation. In addition, the Man in the City truck is a traveling arts truck that provides pop-up art classes, exhibits, and programs. Most recently Sauvé has worked with: Center for Success, Neighborhood Service Organization, Cranbrook Schools, Hispanic Youth Center and Boll Family YMCA where he served as Artist in Residence and received the Volunteer of the Year Award.

“Public art and exposure to art are critical to society. To be able to share my work and experience with youth in our region and spark their creative spirit is invaluable,” said Sauvé. “Partnerships such as our relationship with Axalta provide me with the opportunity to reach more students.”

In addition to the NAIAS event, Axalta has housed a series of the Man in the City sculptures in their Detroit offices. The onsite installation has sparked interest and participation from staff and customers to support the Sauvé Art Foundation.

Both Axalta and the Sauvé Art Foundation have planned several partnership events throughout the year.

About Axalta: Axalta is a leading global company focused solely on coatings and providing customers with innovative, colorful, beautiful and sustainable solutions. From light OEM vehicles, commercial vehicles and refinish applications to electric motors, buildings, and pipelines, our coatings are designed to prevent corrosion, increase productivity and enable the materials we coat to last longer. With more than 150 years of experience in the coatings industry, the 14,000 people of Axalta continue to find ways to serve our more than 100,000 customers in 130 countries better every day with the finest coatings, application systems, and technology. For more information visit and follow us @Axalta on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

Project Beautiful Inside and Out Receives Sketchbattle Proceeds

By | Newsroom

DETROIT- (January 4, 2019)— Project Beautiful – Inside and Out (Project Beautiful) is proud to announce it has been named the non-profit partner and beneficiary of this year’s legendary Middlecott Sketchbattle #15.

The epic event will be held on January 15, 2019, at St. Andrew’s Hall at 7:00 p.m. The evening showcases the best of the best in automotive design in a thrilling competition that draws automotive, art and party enthusiasts alike. Sketchbattle will donate all ticket sale proceeds to the local non-profit for the fourth year in a row.

In addition, this year will hold an additional fundraising opportunity for the organization. Four pedal cars customized by renowned artists will be onsite and offered up via silent auction. The artists include Jay Shuster, Pixar artist/production designer known for the film Cars, Camilo Pardo, automotive designer and fine artist, Sheefy McFly a local graffiti artist and Bob Soroka, airbrush artist.

Founded in 2015, Project Beautiful aims to bring smiles to people when they need it most — working with shelters and other service organizations to provide add-on initiatives. Proceeds received from Middlecott Sketchbattle events over the past three years have enabled Project Beautiful to grow their signature Mother’s Day Program. In 2018, Project Beautiful gifted $24,000 worth of donations to 4 Metro Detroit domestic violence shelters helping make Mother’s Day special for 100 women and their families at First Step in Wayne County, Haven in Oakland County, Interim House in Detroit, and Turning Point in Macomb County. Contributions consisted of a catered brunch for the women and their families, gift bags for the women, needs list items to each shelter (personal, beauty and baby care items, feminine hygiene items, bras, panties, PJ’s, cleaning products and more), and a donation of $1500 per shelter for a project of their choice.

The partnership between the organization and Sketchbattle brings a natural synergy and awareness for the important work Project Beautiful does. “We are honored to be the chosen beneficiary of this great event,” said Gilles. “The funds we’ve received each year have allowed us to directly and positively impact those in need and we are ecstatic to expand our partnership in 2019.”

Frank Schwartz, Advanced Automotive Consulting Services and Middlecott Sketchbattle, felt Project Beautiful was the natural recipient choice, “We look to choose local charities, not national because we want the Sketchbattle to give back in the communities that host us. We also want to support charities that utilize a large portion of their fundraising to the recipients, and not to the staff,” said Schwartz. Project Beautiful’s mission and work is definitive of the types of organizations we work with. Doris is a kindred spirit in all that she does. It is our pleasure to be able to raise awareness and funds for their efforts.”

Over the past few years, more than $16,000 has been provided from Sketchbattle events through ticket sales and auction items. This year, the addition of rare one-off art items like the pedal cars is sure to increase fundraising exponentially. “We are proud to support Project Beautiful and look forward to continuing to expand our fundraising efforts through the addition of elements such as this year’s one-of-a-kind art pieces,” said Banham.

Sketchbattle #15 is open to all to attend and is a must hit event of the auto show season. Tickets are a suggested donation of $20 and are available in advance here. A limited number of tickets are also available at the door.

Project Beautiful – Inside and Out is dedicated to the following Mission: To build confidence and inspire hope as individuals and families – especially women in shelter and similar situations, in our community and beyond – rebuild their lives. We partner with other service organizations to create moments and experiences that bring smiles to people when they need it most. The organization’s vision is: A beautiful and comforting environment and community that strengthens and motivates displaced individuals as they advance their lives.

Sketchbattle #15 Raises the Stakes at Design’s Greatest Showdown

By | Newsroom

DETROIT-(January 4, 2019)— The designers are ready. This is the live car design sketching contest they’ve been training for all year. An epic Sketchbattle lies ahead. Who will be named Sketchmaster at Sketchbattle #15 taking home the coveted title belt and cash prize?

The legendary creative challenge and automotive design industry party blowout will take over St. Andrew’s Hall January 15, 2019. Sixteen professional and student designers will face-off in three 30-minute rounds with their own distinct themes. Everything is happening in real time and all the car design sketches are hand drawn. The high-intensity in the room is electric as spectators and competitors alike feed on the suspense, competitive spirit and vibe of the night. It is billed the Fight Club of Design, after all. The ultimate victor receives a $2500 cash prize and the coveted Sketchbattle Championship Belt designed by Mobsteel.

Event judges for this year’s event include the greatest names in automotive design. This year’s judges are: Chief Judge Helen Emsley, Executive Director of Design, Global Buick and GMC, General Motors Corporation, Jeff Hammoud, Vice President of Design, Rivian, Ryan Nagode, Chief Designer, Truck, Commercial and Performance Interiors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Adam Rabinowitz, Chief Design- Exteriors/Toyota, Calty Design Research, Inc. Past Judges have included Ralph Gilles, Head of Design, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and other renowned executives from Ford, GM, Tesla, Kia and new manufacturers like SF Motors, ZOOX, and Karma. Other esteemed guests have included Magnus Walker, Tom Matano, CAMILO Pardo, and Daniel Simon, designer of Tron Legacy, Prometheus, and Oblivion to name a few. In an interview onsite at last year’s event, Gilles commented on the importance of design and the incredible exposure to the talent at this event. “People put design first of all… People react to the emotion of the product. Emotion wins the day,” said Gilles. “We see it as a very valuable skillset and it’s something we want to cultivate.”

Attendees will be immersed in a feast for their senses. Emcee and “ring announcer” Terry Ayrault, Chief Creative Officer of the JRT Agency/CG Detroit will lead the night’s activities and set the stage for each round. The competition heats up as Satori Circus is the “referee” and distraction for the competitors. DJ Emily Thornhill aka Thornstryker will keep the crowd dancing all night long spinning Detroit jams. In the famous basement The Shelter, there will be a charity auction and art show, the Shelter Art Show,from local artists across a multitude of media. Artists include Alyssa Baron-Klask, Chrissy Fehan, Kit Kat, Matthew Lisk, Shannon McKeon, Jason Reed, Rachael Robinson, Jessica Tierman, and Irina Zavatski . This is a must-attend for anyone who loves Detroit, art, design, cars and a great party.

The whole event is the brainchild of Brook and Judith Banham of Middlecott Design, who created the event back in 2012. Frank Schwartz of Advanced Automotive Consulting Services joined Brook and Judith as a partner one year later and has helped the event grow to new locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.  As sketching is inherently competitive, whoever has the best sketch wins, in terms of getting the best job or their idea made, the Sketchbattle was conceived to celebrate and elevate design as a competitive skill and talent on par with athletics.This, married with a definitive Motor City experience of great music, ingenuity, an avant-garde spirit, and infectious energy seemed the perfect way to give a taste of why Detroit is so captivating to the world.

“What started as an idea to showcase Detroit’s leading design talents has escalated to a can’t miss event that epitomizes the innovation and swagger of our city,” said Brook Banham. “We’re excited to see this evolution continue as we expand the event nationally and internationally.”  Frank Schwartz adds “For 2019 we are expecting further growth and currently planning our first international event.  One day we expect the world’s greatest designers will travel to Detroit to really settle the argument who is the greatest.”

A suggested donation of $20 at the door is recommended. One hundred percent of the ticket price will benefit Project Beautiful- Inside & Out and is fully tax deductible. The foundation was formed by Doris Gilles and provides support and confidence for families and women in shelter situations in our community. The organization was formed to help provide daily support and necessities such as toiletries and baby needs.

This year, the fundraising opportunities will expand with the addition of a silent auction. Four pedal cars will be on display available to win. Each has been customized by a top designer or artist and all proceeds will benefit Project Beautiful Inside & Out. This year’s artists include Bob Soroka, airbrush artist, Camilo Pardo, designer,  Jay Shuster, Pixar artist known for the film Cars and Sheefy McFly a local graffiti artist.

Additionally, onsite will be the Sauve Foundation arts education truck. Designed by Brook and unveiled at last year’s Sketchbattle. The truck serves as a vehicle for renowned artist John Sauve to provide first-hand art and film programs to students throughout the region. Sparking possibilities for the designers of the future.

The event provides a unique opportunity for designers to showcase their work and gain exposure to potential future employers, rub elbows with industry legends and key in how their fellow designers think. This is especially valuable for the students who participate.  A select number of advance tickets are available. To secure advance tickets click here. For more information click here or #MSBEXP across major social media channels.


MIDDLECOTT Design is an international design organization based in Detroit, Michigan. They provide a myriad range of services including Industrial Design including; Transport and Product Design, Graphic Design including; Logo, Branding, Books and Magazine, and Website Design.  As Detroit’s premier design consultancy, MIDDLECOTT offers an award-winning formula of high-octane design for clients across industries.

AACS (Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, LLC) is a business development consultancy working in all aspects of the automotive industry. AACS specializes in helping automotive suppliers with their difficult objectives like introducing new technologies, expanding business onto new continents or breaking down walls to bring in new customers. Services include executive strategy, market research, business development, and advanced sales. AACS is a team of experts who specialize in customer engagement!