About Maria Maneos: Visual Artist -Social Change


My artistic journey is a reflection of my personal experiences, weaving a narrative regardless of medium; through deliberate imitation, intuitive exploration, and a commitment to social change, I aspire to create a visual language that resonates with the human experience on profound levels. The simple expressions within my art are conduits for complex thoughts, aiming not for grandiosity but for intimacy and humanity.

Each piece becomes a vessel for a deeper truth—a truth that extends beyond the surface and into the collective consciousness. By drawing inspiration from personal stories and societal challenges my art seeks to forge connections, provoke thought, and ultimately contribute to a broader conversation on the transformative power of self-exploration, social awareness, and the universal pursuit of understanding.

ARTIST BIO – About Maria Maneos

Maria Maneos is a dedicated advocate for social change and criminal justice reform, channeling her passion through art. With over a decade of experience in mental and behavioral health, she utilizes her skills as a visual artist to create a meaningful impact. Holding a BFA from Arcadia University and an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, her work has graced galleries, universities, and museums nationwide, with numerous exhibitions in Philadelphia.

Notably, her immersive sculpture “Under the Microscope” earned first place in the sculpture category at the State Museum of PA’s 56th annual art exhibit, Art of the State, in 2023. This piece poignantly explores the challenges of loving and caring for individuals with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. In 2018, Maria’s sculpture “5535-2017” secured first place in sculpture and the prestigious Purchase Prize Award, now a part of the State Museum of PA’s permanent collection. 

Maria is an alumna of the Center for Emerging Visual Artists’ Fellowship (2020-2022) and a recipient of the Leeway Foundation for Art and Change grant (2014). Her commitment to mentorship and outreach is evident in receiving the Outstanding Mentor in Alternative Settings Award from Kutztown University in 2019. As the founder and director of Brush With the Law, a nonprofit organization committed to community service and reentry arts, Maria’s influence transcends her art. She also serves on the Montgomery County Public Defenders Advisory Board, where she helps shape policies, priorities, and legislation affecting the justice system. Maria’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of art as a catalyst for change and a force for good in our society.

marginalized populations. Her sculpture, 5535-2017, won first place and received the Purchase Prize Award in 2018 at the Art of the State exhibit in Harrisburg,


I am attracted to the psychological forces that underlie human behavior, especially the dynamic relations between conscious and unconscious motivations. ~ Maria Maneos

A few of my favorite thinkers – Plato, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Michel Foucault, Mark Rothko.

Statue of Plato the philosopher

Recently discovered that John Lennon’s song “Watching the Wheels” directly references Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” The Allegory of the Cave, or Plato’s Cave, is an allegory presented by the Greek philosopher Plato in his work Republic to compare “the effect of education and the lack of it on our nature.” It is in the 2nd verse.

“People say I’m lazy, dreaming my life away,
Well, they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me,
When I tell them that I’m doing fine watching shadows on the wall
Don’t you miss the big time boy; you’re no longer on the ball”

Before Night Falls

I am that angry and lonely child of always,

That throws you the insult of that angry child of always and warns you:

If hypocritically, you pat me on the head

I would take that opportunity to steal your wallet.

I am that child of always

before the panorama of imminent terror,

imminent leprosy, imminent fleas,

 of offenses and the imminent crime.

I am that repulsive child that improvises a bed

out of an old cardboard box and walls,

certain that you will accompany me.

Arenas’ Reading from the movie ” Before Night Falls”
old photo from circa 1970 of a little girl in a white dress and her older cousin at a family celebration dancing.
Maria Maneos and her cousin Steven Nic… dancing together at a Greek wedding back in the day. circa 1978


Maneos has a venture to bring people together from diverse and often adversarial communities that helps generate new concepts, theories, and methods that are innovative and move beyond discipline-specific approaches to address larger social issues. She uses art as research to experiment with ideas and aid in the development of meaningful projects that challenge stereotypes and brings awareness to and social change for people and their environment.