MUM alumna Hilary Nelson

A 2016 piece titled “Hot From Running”

Hilary working on one of her pieces

MUM alumna Hilary Nelson is about to graduate from the University of Iowa with an MFA degree; however, her path to becoming an artist wasn’t always straightforward.

Hilary has always been making art, but after graduating from Maharishi School she was one of the first students to enroll in the Sustainable Living Program at MUM. Hilary was excited to be involved with the emerging new department, and the ideas of sustainability have influenced her lifestyle ever since.

After getting her BS degree in 2007, Hilary decided to pursue art and returned to MUM to get a BFA. Her experience in the art department helped her solidify her decision to continue studying art and apply for graduate school at the University of Iowa, where she earned an MA in painting in 2016.

“My time at MUM gave me the tools to maintain balance in my life and work,” said Hilary. “It helped me to establish a practice of flexibility and seeing the larger picture. Transcendental Meditation helps me remain grounded, and it often acts as a reset and provides me with a strong foundation for all that I do.”

Hilary appreciates that graduate school allows her to focus on her art and its development. She likes to use recycled materials, which serve as inspiration for her pieces that blend painting and sculpture. “I use a lot of found or surplus objects, things that used to be other things. These materials are already in motion and I think they ensure me a starting point.”

Hilary has also been teaching courses on painting and drawing at MUM, as well as at the University of Iowa, which awarded her several teaching assistantships. In addition, she has received the Len Everett Fund for Excellence Scholarship and the Mildred Pelzer Lynch Fellowship.