Student Spotlight: Manon Riley

I met Manon in a class last year, but have never experienced her work first hand until this semester. She whipped this out in our Basic Drawing class, and I knew I had to give her and her art the attention it deserves.

Meet Manon!

Name: Manon Riley

Year: Class of 2022-23

Major: Art Therapy

I am majoring in art because art has truly defined my life. After a rough sophomore year in high school, I found myself without many friends to spend my days with. I ended up spending my study hall and lunch in the art studio by myself, just drawing the time away. It was this moment that I truly fell in love with art and its healing capabilities. After going to school for something totally different across the state, and then taking off a year and a half, I finally feel I am where I’m supposed to be as an art student.

The kind of things that inspire me can be found in the natural world. I am passionate about the Earth’s raw beauty either available to the naked eye or hidden in the cracks of the forest. I find it as a source of magic that is endlessly inviting. Humans fall under this category as well, as we are all each our own little universe. 

When I’m not in class making art, I’m out of class making art. Whether I’m doodling on the floor plan of the restaurant I work at, designing chalkboard calendars at my yoga studio, or in the privacy of my own home with a candle lit and a paintbrush in hand. I live and breathe art, and when I’m not physically making it, I am constantly searching for new ways to be stimulated and inspired. 

The coolest thing I’ve done so far at Marywood was the Keystone Iron Works program offered by sculpture professor Nikki Moser. She provided this class for free to at-risk youths, and Marywood students were able to volunteer and participate. This included making a clay pattern, imprinting it into a sand mold, and then pouring molten iron through a hole in the top of the sand mold, filling the empty imprint with beautiful red-hot iron. This was an unforgettable learning experience I was able to partake in because of Marywood. 

When I graduate, I want to go back to school for a graduate degree. I want to focus mainly on neuroscience and the cognitive relationship people have with art as a means of healing. I want to help people heal. 

I’d recommend the art program at Marywood because the staff of professors are incredible teachers by being incredible artists. The professors in the art department aren’t necessarily there to give you answers but to show you how to find the answers yourself. That is where the real learning happens. I would rather learn from the artist than from the art teacher, and Marywood has done a great job at making sure their faculty are both. 

The best spot to be on campus is the Sculpture studio after midnight. Equally terrifying and inspiring.

That’s all for this week! Thank you Manon for sharing your pieces and your experiences! See y’all next week!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.