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Laney Riley

Laney Riley
Class of 2014
Major: Family and Consumer Sciences

Little did Dr. Donna Hancock know when she asked Laney Riley to help her with a class project that she had chosen the perfect person. Professor Hancock needed someone who knew about painting murals and Laney is a muralist.

As part of the requirements for her contemporary family relationships class, Laney is heading up a mural project for SAW (Staunton Augusta Waynesboro) Coalition for the Office on Youth in Staunton, Va. SAW creates and implements strategies to prevent youth from involvement in criminal gang activity, drug use, violence and other risky behaviors.

Sharing her artistic expertise with elementary- and middle-school children from broken homes and difficult situations, Laney is in charge of designing a mural to be displayed in a community classroom.

Laney’s role in the project includes creating the design and directing the children in painting the mural, as well as building relationships and serving as a role model for them.

A transfer student from Blue Ridge Community College, Laney thought it might be difficult to find her place at Bridgewater. “I never thought I was going to get an opportunity like this,” she said. “I feel a lot more confident in myself and the abilities that I have. I am excited to see what I can do.”

Laney, who lives in Staunton, has her artistic work on display in various locations around the city. A mural at Staunton Alliance Church features “A Journey to Jesus” that depicts children from around the world painted on both sides of a hallway with Jesus waiting at the end for them. The project, done with Bob Kirchman, took almost a year to complete.

At her home church, St. John’s United Methodist in Staunton, Laney painted large backdrops for Vacation Bible School that featured ocean scenes.

In addition to creating new murals, Laney has lent her hand to a restoration project. During the spring of 2012, she helped high-school students restore a mural created by Bob Kirchman in Crozet, Va., that had begun to peel and chip. The mural was dedicated on one side to the Monacans, the Native American tribe that lived there before the settlers came. The other side shows the pioneers who helped found the city.

To view Laney’s work, go to