‘Brush With the Law’…Pa. woman starts art therapy program for inmates

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Maria Maneos from Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania, has a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in the Philadelphia region, New York City and elsewhere over the past 10 years. But it was a change in personal circumstances that led her to use those talents to help inmates through art therapy.

When Maria’s son became incarcerated at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility due to drug charges, she decided to begin providing art instruction to MCCF prisoners. But she needed about $4,500 in funding. She reached out to a company called Fractured Atlas where she received a fiscal sponsorship. Fractured Atlas works with artists to help them raise funds to support their work.

Individual artists often do not qualify as a non-profit organization to apply for grant money. Fractured Atlas connects them to philanthropic individuals, charitable foundations, and government institutions that are devoted to funding the arts. As a result, Maria was able to secure about $1,000 so far in donations from private organizations.

Maria has called her program Brush With the Law and hopes to continue offering art instruction to help more inmates reflect and turn their lives around.

For more information, visit http://www.fracturedatlas.org

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