Maria Maneos – Brush With The Law
Maria Maneos is an artist who first became acquainted with the harsh realities of incarceration in the U.S. when her son’s addiction to heroin inevitably led to his arrest, conviction and sentencing to prison. Visiting him in jail brought to light the lack of rehabilitative programming in our overcrowded and overburdened prison system. Her son’s experiences shattered Maria’s illusions concerning the rehabilitative goals enshrined in the charter of correctional institutions. She soon learned that inmates for the majority of the day have few – if any – emotional, educational, or social outlets, to help alleviate feelings of self-defeat, depression and cynicism that ultimately further entraps them in a cycle of crime and drug addiction.
Maria’s background in the Fine Arts inspired her to make a difference in the lives of prison inmates. Through her program, Brush With The Law, she employs innovative art therapy techniques to provide inmates with the rehabilitative lessons and life skills characteristically lacking in the contemporary prison-industrial complex.
Maria currently serves the female inmate population at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Eagleville, Pennsylvania with weekly art classes that incorporate critical thinking, mindfulness, professional development and transitional skills. Maria’s successful program is soon expanding to incorporate the male inmates. She is also developing a program for inmates to mentor at-risk youth, and hopes eventually to build an art gallery where inmate works can be exhibited and sold with proceeds used to support inmates and their families.
For more information, please visit Brush With the Law on Facebook.
GRANT AWARD DATE: July 24, 2015