In the summer of 2013 we awarded our first summer Hellenic Legacy scholarship to Ellie Manos of Los Angeles, CA. Ellie’s scholarship was designed to support her love of the arts and her wish to experience Greece for the first time. Ellie spent two months on the Cycladic island of Paros and participated in two summer programs: a creative writing course at the Hellenic International Studies in the Arts study abroad program and a figure drawing intensive course at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts.
In her own words below, Ellie describes her unforgettable summer honing her artistic craft and experiencing Greece for the first time. Ellie’s words prove that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as she is the daughter of James Manos, the Emmy Award winning writer and producer who has been involved with such shows as Dexter (writer, creator, producer) and The Sopranos (writer). We’re very pleased to have supported Ellie with this scholarship during a critical time in her personal development as she transitions from high school to college.
I don’t know how I can thank the Greek America Foundation enough for the wonderful experience I had this summer. The two months I spent on the Greek island of Paros gave me a profound sense of independence, a myriad of experiences that could not be had anywhere else, a completely unique education in the arts, and beautiful, unexpected friendships.
I started the summer with a creative writing program at the Hellenic Institute School of the Arts. Our creative writing class was intimate and our workshops were filled with interesting discussion and analysis of our peers’ work. In addition to everything we learned from the workshops, this program supplied us all with an incredible amount of experiential knowledge. We went on many short trips to other islands such as Naxos, Antiparos, and Santorini so that we could really get to know the Cycladic culture and we were trusted and encouraged to explore on our own. I loved the freedom we had with HISA because we were able to create our own experiences and get to know the island and the people for ourselves, and in my opinion, that’s really what traveling is all about. Our large group of forty students studying at HISA was remarkably close and it was a truly special experience to be in a foreign country with a group of people who are all there for the same reason you are—to travel, to learn, and to create new life experiences.
After saying goodbye to the amazing friends I had made at HISA and seeing them off at the ferry, I started the figure drawing program at the Aegean Center, another art school on the same island. This course was extremely different from the first because the group was much smaller—there were about ten of us and the majority of the students at the Aegean Center were adult, Greek women. The figure drawing class at the Aegean Center was a bit more structured, and classes were longer, in contrast to the experiential learning at HISA.
I had a fantastic time studying at the Aegean Center. Every morning I would grab my tea at the café right by the school, head to class, and spend six hours drawing. I have taken art courses over the past few summers, but the Aegean Center taught a totally unique way of looking at the human body and how to draw it. I’m so happy that the two courses were different, because I was able to experience Paros in a new way when I was studying at the Aegean Center. I lived alone and spent most of my time wandering around meeting new people, which was so amazing, because I was spending my days in ways I’ve never spent them before. It was a completely different way of living life and I already miss it a great deal.
I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have spent my summer eating octopus at tavernas, night-swimming in the Aegean, writing, reading, or drawing at cafés for hours, talking with friends until the sun comes up, and everything in between. Thanks to the Greek America Foundation’s generosity, I was able to reconnect with my Greek roots while doing what I love and enjoying a summer I will never forget.
– Ellie Manos, 2013 Scholarship Recipient