Marissa Tawney Thaler is a visual artist living in Lansing, MI. She holds a BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, where she studied Art Education and Illustration. From there,Marissa worked as an elementary art teacher in Waverly Community Schools, using weekends,summer, and holiday breaks to cultivate her personal work. In 2011, she curated an Alumni Show at Gallery 1212 in Old Town, and until 2014, she was part of 4th Culture Studios who put on many area exhibitions at locations such as Scene:Metrospace and the John Bean Building. She has volunteered for Reach Studio Art, Keys to Creativity, and for the last 4 years participated in the LoveLansing Fundraiser to support art education in Lansing.In the fall of 2018, Marissa left teaching to pursue a career as a freelance illustrator. Since then she has created a series, Drawing Folded Paper, which has been featured in various locations around Michigan, and launched Briarwood Art Collective from her studio in Okemos. Most notably, she wrote, illustrated, and published her first book, Get that GRIT! which helps children with the application of perseverance.Marissa’s work, often narrative in nature, uses primarily drawing media to achieve a “bittersweet aesthetic.” Often working in series, she aims to find the lighthearted side of struggles and moments of connection in everyday happenings.