Olga’s Kitchen founder honored with mural in Ann Arbor for Women’s History Month

Detroit artist commissioned for project

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Olga Loizon, the founder of the famous restaurant chain Olga’s Kitchen, is being honored with a hand-painted mural in Ann Arbor in celebration of Women’s History Month.

The creative process, from inception to unveiling, took nearly six months, according to Detroit artist Desiree Kelly, who was commissioned for the project. “That combination of traditional oil paint and street art is really the influence of my style,” Kelly said.

Kelly said she wanted the mural to reflect Olga’s legacy as a groundbreaking female entrepreneur. “Throughout my process, going through old photos of Olga, and just seeing her energy and her excitement about what she was creating, I wanted to bring those images to life,” Kelly said.

Olga’s Kitchen Director of Marketing, Loredana Gianino, said that being a female entrepreneur herself, it was important to partner with Detroit’s local artists, such as Kelly, to bring Olga’s essence to Michigan.

When Olga launched Olga’s Kitchen in 1970, the world wasn’t particularly open to female business owners. “Olga had her own challenges. She was actually one of the first women to get a loan from her local bank. So she went through a lot to make sure that we had this brand and she was a glass ceiling breaker herself,” Gianino said.

Olga passed away in 2019 at the age of 91. “Having someone that’s so close that did succeed, I think is really important. And I think that’s a story that should be told. And I’m happy to be able to translate that and bring it to life and then color and hopefully, you know, people will be inspired by that as well,” Kelly said.

Last year, Olga’s Kitchen and the family launched a memorial fund for female entrepreneurs, offering grants of up to $10,000. They are accepting applications through May 6.

To donate to the Olga Loizon Memorial Foundation or to apply for a grant, visit the company’s website by clicking here.

About the Author:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism