Hearts on Fire is a nonprofit art and music program empowering youth of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities from marginalized communities of Pittsburgh. All program offerings are based on a theme supporting wholeness and healing and consist of on-site and outreach workshops, events, on-going classes and summer camps in the areas of mixed media, painting, drawing, collage, drumming, voice and songwriting. Taught by professional teaching artists who volunteer their time and expertise to enrich the lives of youth.
CARLA BIANCO – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR / MUSIC & VOICE INSTRUCTOR
Carla Bianco has a deep passion for working with youth in the arts. She was the Director of Outreach at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center for 14 years where she originated the program creating arts offerings for thousands of students of all ages in all areas of the arts across the state of Pennsylvania. She provided enrichments programs for Lincoln Park and PA Cyber students but also for at-risk youth in places like Mars Home for Youth and the Bradley Center. It was then that her passion for helping youth in need began to grow stronger. As an instructor, Carla has taught classes, private lessons and master workshops in voice and musical theater to all ages and levels. She currently teaches private voice at Point Park University’s COPA program and owns and teaches private voice lessons with the Carla Bianco Voice Studio. An artist herself, Carla is an ASCAP-award winning songwriter who is most known for writing a #1 Billboard song and for starring on Broadway as Maureen in Rent. She has had numerous recording and composing deals and has appeared on West Coast, Broadway and off- Broadway stages, all of which has won her chart placements, recognitions and awards. She donates to many children’s charities and continues her recording work on her own record label distributed by Sony Orchard. Carla is also the music director at Mt. Pisgah Presbyterian Church. Carla is passionate about her faith and her family as well as helping others with the strong message of love through Hearts on Fire.
SHUCHI MISHRA – VISUAL ARTS INSTRUCTOR/PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
Shuchi Mishra is a comics artist from San Francisco, California. She was born in India, spent her late twenties and early thirties in Germany working as a language and intercultural trainer, and moved to the United States in 2016. She attended California College of the Arts and graduated with an MFA in Comics in 2019. A former Resident Artist and Educator at Chapter 510, she currently runs and teaches her own comics and basic animation workshops for several school programs across the bay area. Her curriculum focuses on visual storytelling, personal expression, and exploration through images and words. Her work is inspired by her personal experiences, science, nature, mythology and human behavior. She is currently a writer-comic-artist in residence at the Writer’s House in Pittsburgh. While in-residence, Shuchi is working on a transnational graphic memoir based on her time in Stuttgart, Germany – a story of love, language, culture, and resilience. She is supported in these efforts by the House with editorial / story development mentorship, as well as support throughout her development of a book proposal. Since joining the House, she has taught classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art, started working on a collaborative graphic memoir with a NY-based journalist, and had her work published in the New Yorker for the first time.
CARRIE JABLUNOVSKY – GUEST INSTRUCTOR
Carrie has always mixed her love for art and helping others in everything she has done. She graduated from Saint Vincent College with a BA in Graphic Design and a minor in Business Management and has worked in marketing for 12 years prior to starting a family. While raising her children, Carrie was an active volunteer at Saint Kilian Parish where she was a team leader for vacation bible school, an aid for the Faith Formation Program and a Faith Formation Teacher for many years. During this time, she worked with children of all ages from preschool to teens. Carrie also volunteered her time through the Mars Area School District PTO for nine years where she organized and lead classroom activities and helped with school wide events. Carrie has a strong faith and loves to share it with others. She created and facilitated the initial visual arts workshops for Hearts on Fire incorporating a fun art activity with a positive spiritual theme for people of all ages. Over an 18-month period, outreach workshops were conducted in person and virtually during the time of the pandemic. Carrie lives in Mars, PA with her husband, Nick, two children, Alex and Lauren and their dog, Sam.
ANNIE MATHE – GUEST INSTRUCTOR / CERTIFIED HOLISTIC CONSULTANT
Annie Mathe is a Drum Circle Facilitator and Certified Holistic Reflexologist. Her interest in drumming came about after requiring a Pacemaker and being told her heart had “lost its rhythm”. While googling ”rhythm and the heart”, she came upon an article about Jim Donovan, M.Ed, a drum circle facilitator in Pittsburgh who happened to be offering a healing drum circle that week. She attended the circle and was immediately hooked! She has since completed Jim Donovan’s Drum Circle Leadership training program twice, as well as his Drumming with Disabilities training program. She has shared her drum circles with youth at Glade Run in Zelienople, PA and for the past 4 years with Memory Care Residents at Passavant Retirement Community in Zelienople. She has also completed an intensive 15-month, 300-hour reflexology certification program at the Brauer Institute for Holistic Medicine. She realizes the importance of providing a safe place and utilizing a gentle, loving, approach to inspire others to open their souls to living a healthy, empowered, extraordinary life. She has over 30 years of success teaching prevention, and utilizing breathing, stress management, behavior modification, and relaxation techniques with her patients to reduce their fears, anxiety, and pain, and motivate them to optimum health.
Through our programs, students find inspiration, hope and love through creative expression and life-giving fundamentals. Hearts on Fire believes in the philosophy of radical hospitality where ALL are welcome. We offer two different tracks of programming to accommodate everyone’s healing art experience!
Track 1: Arts of Kindness – Students of all ages learn positive, self-esteem building principles such as love, compassion and giving while creating art through the healing experience of self-expression, support and collaboration.
Track 2: Hearts on Fire – A faith-based program for all ages consisting of life-giving principles with a focus on scripture, prayer and worship music culminating with an arts activity supporting a spiritual theme.
Hearts on Fire
2350 Noblestown Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15205