www.njherald.com - Exhibit at SCCC gives perspective on heroin addiction


Exhibit at SCCC gives perspective on heroin addiction

Posted: Sep 14, 2015 10:57 PM EDTUpdated: Sep 18, 2015 12:17 AM EDT
Photos by Jake West/New Jersey HeraldPhotos by Jake West/New Jersey Herald




" ‘Rose-storation' is a representation of a human life being restored. The rose to the left represents the conditions when first abusing heroin. It can make you feel good for a short amount of time, but it slowly destroys the body and mind. The flower in the middle only gets worse. This rose represents the conditions when abuse turns into addiction. The rose to the right represents recovery; when someone makes an effort to come out of addiction it takes a while but they will eventually start to regain attributes of a healthy body and mind which is why the rose is standing up tall and beautiful and restored to its former glory!"

The statement by artist Dyamond Starr Johnson accompanies a work of art in the "Heroin Art Exhibit" in the atrium of the Sussex County Community College Performing Arts Center where 32 pieces of art by artists from across the state are on display.

"The artists range from people in recovery and families who are in recovery to students and teachers," said Jessica Gonzales, of the DEA New Jersey division of the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

The exhibit, on display at the college through the first week in October, began as a statewide art contest where artists were tasked to express through art what heroin addiction and use means to them.

Paintings, drawings and photographs in the exhibit each include an "artist's statement" explaining the meaning of the piece.

"After receiving the art, we were impressed with the quality so we decided to turn it into an exhibit at the Gateway 2 Center Art Gallery in Newark," Gonzales said. The artists range from 12 to 62 years old, Gonzales said.

The exhibit was seen in Newark by Anne-Marie Shafer, of the Center for Prevention and Counseling in Newton, who knew the exhibit had to come to Sussex County.

"Initially I was thinking it's a really dark subject," she said. "But once you read and were exposed the artists' statements and knew that they were from 12-year-olds and were family members you realized it's (the art) such an important part of healing."

The exhibit was not initially meant to be a traveling exhibit, but interest in showing the work has kept it moving. Gonzales said groups from Union and Mercer counties are interesed in hosting the exhibit. "A lot of people have taken interest and want the artwork in their town," Gonzales said.

On display daily at the college, a reception will be held in the atrium from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18. "There will be light refreshments and we will have people and families in recovery speak," Shafer said.

For more information or to RSVP for the reception, contact Shafer at annmarie@centerforprevention.org or call 973-383-4787 ext. 240.