Art from the Heart: Milwaukee art patrons raising funds to benefit neighbors in need

Public can donate to help families and individuals in need and take home original artworks

MILWAUKEE – February 21, 2020 – Artists, collectors and art patrons Tony and Patricia Busalacchi invite the public to attend Art from the Heart, taking place at the Cultural Arts Center located inside St. John’s on the Lake, 1840 N. Prospect Avenue, on Saturday, March 13 and Sunday, March 14 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. More than 200 original artworks created by Tony Busalacchi and others will be made available to the public in exchange for a donation to Capuchin Community Services. The public can preview the artworks by visiting

Taking place the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, Art from the Heart affords an opportunity for the sharin’ o’ the green to benefit the needy. Funds raised through Art with a Heart will support the mission of Capuchin Community Services. The Capuchins attend to the spiritual and basic needs of people experiencing homelessness, poverty and hunger through their two sites: St. Ben’s Community Meal and the House of Peace.

“Every day, Capuchin Community Services serves hundreds of hot meals at St. Ben’s, provides emergency clothing and food distribution at the House of Peace, and accompanies people as they navigate difficult circumstances,” said Br. Robert Wotypka, ministry director of Capuchin Community Services. “None of this work is possible without the support of so many like Tony and Pat and those who come out to show their support at events like Art with a Heart.”

In 2018, Tony and Pat held a similar art fundraiser benefiting St. Anthony Place. St. Anthony Place was converted from Saint Anthony Hospital and now provides 60 units of supported housing for people, many of whom were formerly homeless. The apartments were furnished in part with proceeds of over $100,000 raised in 2018 in an art fundraiser organized by Tony and Pat Busalacchi.

“That hospital was built in 1931. I was born in that hospital just two years after it opened. St. Francis of Assisi said to preach action, not words. My motto was to light one candle against the darkness. So an idea was born,” said Tony.

“My wife, Pat, and I have been married 60 years,” Tony explains. “We have traveled the world, collecting art from China, Persia, India, Serbia, Egypt, South America, Russia, Poland, and Europe. We believe that art lasts a lifetime. When one is ready, pass it along to someone else who will appreciate it. I am ready to ‘pass along’ 200 works of art; some of them are my creations and some are from our private collection.”

Tony taught humanities at Whitefish Bay High School and Cardinal Stritch University. He served on the Milwaukee Public School Board, the Whitefish Bay School Board, and the Whitefish Bay Village Board. He was the first president of the Milwaukee Opera Company and has served on the board of directors for the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Tony also served as a member of the City of Milwaukee Art Commission. Tony’s artwork is on display at the Paint Box Gallery in Door County. Tony and Pat hosted the TV program Cultura on Milwaukee PBS in the 1960s, featuring conversations on the arts and cultural affairs.


Capuchin Community Services, with two locations, St. Ben’s Community Meal and the House of Peace, serves people struggling with homelessness, poverty and food insecurity.

ABOUT HOUSE OF PEACE: House of Peace assists families and individuals in meeting their spiritual, material and emotional needs. House of Peace helps families remain together while promoting self-sufficiency. It provides food, clothing and pastoral care to people and families afflicted with poverty. In addition, House of Peace is home to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Community Nursing Center and Marquette University Legal Clinic. 

ABOUT ST. BEN’S COMMUNITY MEAL: Since 1970 St. Ben’s Community Meal has welcomed everyone every night but Saturday, no questions asked, to a potluck dinner. Scores of organizations (including churches, temples, mosques, companies and neighborhood groups) provide hot, homemade dishes six days a week to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Over 1,500 meals are served each week. Additional ministries include the Open Door ministry, which offers daily showers and a laundromat, Ascension St. Ben’s Clinic that provides prevention-focused health care to those who can’t afford it, as well as St. Benedict the Moor Parish and jail ministry.

Capuchin Community Services is part of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, headquartered in Detroit, and part of the worldwide Roman Catholic order of Friars Minor, Capuchin, following the Rule of St. Francis of Assisi.

# # #