PINE TOWNSHIP – Creating art is Teresa Firek’s safe place, and she’s paying it forward to other women who need help.

“I think everybody’s affected by art. It connects us and makes us feel less alone,” the Grove City woman said.

She has organized an art show to benefit the Brandi Montgomery House in Pine Township, which is run by AWARE, Mercer County’s agency for domestic violence and sexual abuse help.

The house is for women and children seeking shelter from domestic violence, and it opened in 2017.

Firek was in an abusive relationship, and her therapist recommended art, which she’s always enjoyed.

The Grove City College graduate studied art in school and has written a book of poetry, and now spends time putting her thoughts on canvas with paint, chalk pastels and watercolors.

“I really paint my emotions and my feelings,” she said.

It’s been therapeutic for her, and a few friends encouraged her to showcase her artwork in a show she calls “My Journey to Querencia,” which means “place of safety” in Spanish.

Firek decided to take the opportunity to help others, and she recently learned about the safe house and Montgomery, who was killed in 2006 by her husband Scott Dunn in the Grove City home of Montgomery’s parents.

Dunn set fire to the home with Montgomery, 22, inside to try and cover up the crime, which made national news.

Dunn pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 2007 to serve a minimum of 24 years and four months to a maximum of 52 years in prison.

Firek has worked hard to get to where she is now. Her faith is strong, and she’s taken self-defense and Krav Maga classes at Weber’s ATA Martial Arts Academy in Pine Township.

She describes her artwork as “abstract” and appreciates how one piece can mean something different to everyone who views it.

“My Journey to Querencia” includes poems, self-portraits and subject matters like sadness, safety, comfort and control.

She raised nearly $150 at an in-person version of her art show, which is also available online at https://tallulahmarguerite.wixsite.com/teresa

Twenty percent of her sales will go to the Brandi Montgomery House, and a matching donor has come forward. 

About 10 pieces will be sold via auction.

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