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Designers of the 2014 Chevy Corvette and Cleveland Institute of Art alums visiting the Cleveland Auto Show

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Mar 6, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Detroit holds the title of Motor City, but Cleveland plays a huge role in producing the cars people dream about. That’s because the Cleveland Institute of Art's small but elite Industrial Design program educates a large number of the nation’s top automotive designers.

Nearly 200 current and prospective Cleveland Institute of Art students will learn about automotive design from CIA alums at the top of their field when CIA holds its annual Automotive Symposium at the Cleveland Auto Show at the IX Center on Friday.

The two keynote speakers for this invitation-only event, Kirk Bennion and Jose Gonzalez, are both CIA grads and their work in the performance car design studio for General Motors has allowed them both a part in crafting the recently-introduced seventh generation Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

The iconic American sports car was completely redesigned for 2014 and the vehicle’s performance and design have been well received. At the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the all-new 2014 Corvette Stingray won the coveted industry title of “North American Car of the Year”.

Bennion, a 1984 grad of CIA, admits that he loves to drive sleek, powerful sports cars. “I was working on Corvettes two years out of CIA; that’s why I went there,” he said. Bennion led the exterior design team for both the Corvette and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro. Jose Gonzales (CIA class of 2000) led the design of the Corvette’s performance variant, the Z06, as well as the design of the 2014 Corvette Convertible.

After giving presentations about their education and career experiences with General Motors, Bennion and Gonzalez will lead the students in a hands-on design sketching exercise, and conclude by bringing students onto the auto show floor at the Cleveland IX Center to view the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, 2014 Corvette Convertible, 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 and the 2014 Camaro ZL1. More than half of the participants are high school students from across Ohio and neighboring states interested in automotive design; the remainder are CIA Industrial Design students.

Both Bennion and Gonzales are available for interview to talk about their experiences at Cleveland Institute of Art, as well as their roles in designing a new generation of global supercars for General Motors. For March 7, 2014 interview opportunities at the IX Center, contact Fred Ligouri, GM Communications.

Founded in 1882, the Cleveland Institute of Art is an accredited, independent college of art and design offering 15 majors in studio art, digital art, craft disciplines, and design. CIA extends its programming to the public through gallery exhibitions; lectures; a robust continuing education program; and the Cinematheque, a year-round art and independent film program. CIA’s public programming is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. cia.edu.

The first and largest global automotive OEM design function, General Motors Design has a network of 10 Design Centers in seven countries around the world. More than 2,000 men and women are responsible for the design development of every GM concept and production car and truck globally. The Design Centers are located in the United States, Germany, Korea, China, Australia, Brazil and India. GM Design is led by Ed Welburn, vice president, Global Design. Welburn is just the sixth Design leader in GM history and the first to lead all of the company’s Global Design Centers. GM Design was established in 1927 as ‘The Art and Colour Section’ by the legendary Harley Earl, and celebrated its 85th anniversary in 2012.

The Cleveland Auto Show, presented by AutoTrader.com and Medical Mutual, marks the start of the spring selling season in Northeast Ohio. Featuring concept, pre-production and production vehicles from the world’s auto manufacturers, the show is held annually at the I-X Center with nearly 1.2 million square feet of exhibits. The Show also features an array of entertainment including sports celebrity appearances from the Browns, Cavs, and OSU. The Cleveland Auto Show is a consumer show and a favorite family tradition since 1903. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheClevelandAutoShow.

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After registering for the Cleveland Auto Show’s Car-A-Day Vehicle Giveaway on Monday, March 3, Jospeh Polyak of Fairview Park was chosen as the winner of the Grand Prize for the day; taking home his choice of a free two-year lease of either a 2014 Buick Verano or 2014 GMC Terrain.

The Cleveland Auto Show and the Northern Ohio Buick GMC dealers are sponsoring the Car-A-Day Vehicle Giveaway this year with nine winners being chosen during the course of the show, one for each day the show is open. One winner will be selected at the end of the show each day. The Cleveland Auto Show opened on Saturday, March 1 and runs through Sunday, March 9 at the I-X Center in Cleveland. So far three winners have been selected.

After registering for the Cleveland Auto Show’s Car-A-Day Vehicle Giveaway on Sunday, Martha Myers of North Royalton was chosen to win a free two-year lease of her choice of either a 2014 Buick Verano or 2014 GMC Terrain.

“The Car-A-Day Giveaway is a first for the Cleveland Auto Show,” says Louis A. Vitantonio, President of the Cleveland Auto Show. “We have never given away more than two vehicles, let alone nine for a single show. I’d like to congratulate Joseph Polyak for being the third winner of the historic Car-A-Day Vehicle Giveaway.

“With nine winners being selected, one for each day the show is open, your chances of winning increase dramatically,” says Ed Babcock, Chairman of the Cleveland Auto Show and owner of the Junction Auto Family Dealerships in Chardon. “As of Tuesday evening, you now have five days left to register to win.

“These are two of the finest and best-selling vehicles in the Buick/GMC lineup. Offering the winner of their choice of either the Verano or Terrain adds a new dimension to the contest as well.”

In addition to the nine Grand Prize winners selected each day of the show, on the last day March 9, one lucky First Prize will also be chosen to win 2,000 worth of free natural gas for the home courtesy of IGS Energy.

To register to win, simply visit the Official Free Car Giveaway booth at the Cleveland Auto Show. Mail-in entries will also be accepted. Please send mail in entries to: Auto Show Official Car Giveaway; 10100 Brecksville Road, Brecksville, OH 44141.

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