Andrea Piccone, Administrative Assistant, Artist & So Much More!

By: Andrea Ruggieri
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Born and raised in Rochester, in the town of Gates, and I’ve lived my whole life in this area. My roots go back to Sicily where all of my grandparents were born. They immigrated to the United States around 1910. My parents are first generation Italian-Americans.

In 1996, I graduated from Gates-Chili High School. I began my undergraduate studies at Monroe Community College. After attaining an Associates degree, I earned a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts & Illustration with a concentration in Psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

With education and a passion for art under my belt, I started freelancing as a Portrait Artist and Watercolor & Acrylic Painter. For 3 years I took commission work and also exhibited my art in Rochester and New York City.

My artwork continued to blossom and my fervor to be involved in the art world and other meaningful causes became a large part of my life. I enjoyed volunteering as a youth mentor for the "Women Helping Girls" program at the American Association of University Women.  I acted as Co-chairmen & Curator of the “Festa Italiana” Art Exhibition at the Italian-American Community Center. I presented Art as a career, and did on-the-spot portraits for 5th graders at Paul Road Grammar School. For many years I was involved with the Rochester Art Club, at one point, acting as Co-chair. This opportunity allowed me to be involved in the coordination of the Annual Fall Members Exhibit which was an invaluable experience. I am also connected with the New York Figure Study Guild which I still pursue today.

Eventually I reached a point where I was yearning to do something else with my life. Knowing that art would always be my passion, I wanted to get involved with my community as well and help those who were less fortunate. I discovered the benefits of Art Therapy and decided to move in a new direction with my art roots. This set the course for my second calling.

As an undergraduate at RIT, I minored in psychology because of my strong curiosity to understand how life affects the human condition. Art Therapy is, taking the therapeutic benefits of art and combining it with psychotherapy.  I returned to college and completed a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy at Nazareth College. I soon began my work as an Art Therapist and Social Worker and was hired by Rochester’s oldest not-for-profit child welfare agency, The Society for the Protection and Care of Children (SPCC). Spending 7 years there, I helped many adults and children, and learned a great deal about how trauma and dysfunction effects families and communities.  During my time at SPCC, I specialized in trauma, grief & loss as well as child development using art therapy techniques for treatment with my clients.  Teaching Art & Cultural Classes at Clara Barton School No.2 through SPCC’s After-School Program became a valuable asset and was very gratifying.

In 2014, I got married and my husband and I now have a beautiful baby boy. During this joyful time, unfortunately due to county budget cuts at SPCC, I along with several other co-workers were laid off. As life and responsibilities changed, I felt it was the right time to take a less intensive job and have more time for my own family.  This path led me to Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home where I have worked here for over 2 years as an Administrative Assistant. I now help and coordinate with our funeral directors with arrangements and create tribute materials for our families. I truly enjoy working with families and lending an ear where possible, helping where I can through difficult times. This is where I find my counseling background is a gift. As this Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home looks to the future, I will work with them to create support groups to help further.

I’m happy to say that I still fulfill my art passions in my spare time as a Portrait Artist & Painter in the Rochester area. With my experience as an Artist, an Art Therapist and Social Worker, I am content with where my career choices have led me.

On a personal note, I love spending time with my family, especially with my husband Marty and our 2 year -old son, Carlo.  In between busy life notes, I enjoy baking, gardening, reading novels, taking walks with our dog, Chopper and spending quality time with my life-long friends.

Be on the lookout for me this March as we begin a new series of support groups entitled “The Art of Healing,” geared toward using art as a therapeutic way to help heal. It is free to participate and it will be held once a month at the funeral home. No prior art experience is necessary!

This group will assist members in using art as an alternative way to express feelings of grief and learn coping skills that will assist in their day-to-day living as well as work toward healing. As your facilitator, I will provide individual and group projects that will address complex feelings. Participants will create imagery and art using a variety of materials that will also be used to create special tributes to their loved ones. Also, the members will often find comfort in meeting other people who also have experienced a loss. 

For more information on the Benefits of Art Therapy:                                                                       

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