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How Tragedy Turned A Passion For Painting Into Art That Heals

LuannMonteleone focused more seriously on painting after her husband died. She said she found it helped her deal with the pain. Then one sleepless night, she asked herself what she was going to do with her life to make sure her husband’s death was “not a waste.”

“I prayed and I just got the idea … and the name in one night,” Monteleone said. That was the birth of Art. Healing. Hearts.

At the time she was living in California. She raised a few dollars from her family and friends and convinced a convalescents  home to let her try out her idea. It slowly began to grow, but in December of 2015, Monteleone’s new fiancée moved to Pittsburgh, where she followed and started all over again.

“I started cold calling and talking to anyone who would listen to my crazy idea,” Monteleone said.

Monteleone received several “yeses” and now works with abused women, individuals with special needs and those who have suffered various types of trauma.

Among her weekly stops is The Angelus Convalescent Center in East Liberty.

“We said that sounds like a wonderful idea,” said Center Director Rocco Tarasi. “The residents are just beaming when they are done.”

“I love it,” said Denise who lives at The Angelus Convalescent Center. “It gives us something creative to do and she is a wonderful teacher so all you have to do is follow what she says and you come up with a wonderful picture.”

Monteleone uses donations to purchase supplies and does not take a salary for her work. 

Over the last few weeks, she has been collecting the artwork of several class participants for a show she is mounting Thursday, June 23, 2016 at the Xtaza Night Club Downtown. Some of the works will be for display only, but some will be for sale. Any money collected for the sale will go back to the artist.

UPDATE: A caption for one of the pictures associated with this story was changed on 6/28 to better reflect the nature of the classes offered by Ms. Monteleone.