By Tess Moran

As with many musicians, Dana Manzella’s career as a musical performer at local restaurants, bars and health care facilities came to a screeching halt last March. Dana began her music career late in life and worked hard to establish music contacts throughout the community.

Searching for alternative ways to channel her creative energy, Dana remembered an unopened acrylic paint set she received as a gift several years ago. Then, during a phone conversation with her mother, Dana was inspired to begin a whole new venture. “When I told my mom that I was refreshing some old furniture by painting it, she said, ‘I could use someone to paint and refresh me!’”

To cheer her mom up, Dana decided to paint a caricature of her mother serving up her famous chocolate chip cookies. Upon posting the picture to Facebook, Dana began receiving so much positive feedback, that it provided her with the confidence to paint more. Soon, she was stocking up on canvases and art supplies. She says, “My inspiration comes from being able to express myself with no rules attached.” Using paint, joint compound, and different types of wood, Dana started making one-of-a-kind art creations.

Dana’s new-found artistic expression helped her get through a difficult year. Her hope for 2021 is to incorporate both music and art in her performances. She says, “Whether it be art or music, I would like to share the themes of hope and love with all whom I have contact.” Learn more about Dana at or call her at 716-200-2943.

Did you transform yourself in any way during the pandemic? Would you like to share your story? Contact