All across our state, many people are doing what they can to combat the heroin epidemic.
In Avon, city officials and community health leaders have teamed up with an Ohio artist who is using his creative talents to join the fight for recovery in a different way.
Ohio artist Ryan Poignon will display his traveling sculpture at 36744 Detroit Road in Avon (in front of Little League Park) for a limited two-week exhibit.
Starting Tuesday, February 21 through Tuesday, March 7 the community is invited to view the art installation and talk about it with friends, co-workers and family.
“It’s meant to get people talking with one another about heroin and the opioid crisis facing our communities right now,” says Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen.
According to Poignon, the millennial artist who created the exhibit, his artistic interpretation of the piece is a visual of how one achieves a high from drug use, only to come plummeting down to a disastrous low.
The installation, made of 100% recycled materials, topping more than 14 feet high and 15 feet wide, features several pairs of human legs topped with syringes instead of torsos and heads. The figures are in a line, seemingly waiting to climb a ladder and fall into a container of debris.
“I didn’t give the sculpture a name because I want people to put their personal interpretation with it when they see it,” says Poignon.
“The sculpture may be uncomfortable to look at,” says Jensen. “However, the goal is to educate people and start conversations about this issue. The statistics are staggering and the numbers continue to rise.”
Local community organizations are supporting Avon’s efforts to raise addiction awareness including the Cleveland Clinic, The LCADA Way, Assist Communities (Formerly Assist Avon Lake) and ADAS. “We all have a role to understand the impact of addiction, how to help and support our loved ones and that recovery is possible,” said Elaine Georges, Executive Director, Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County (ADAS).
City officials have provided a plaque with the hashtag #Fight For Recovery and are encouraging the public to share a photo of themselves posing with the hashtag and the sculpture on their personal social media platforms to help bring addiction awareness into the mainstream public realm.
“Heroin exists in all of our communities, but it only seems to grab our attention when it involves a tragedy,” says Avon Councilwoman Tammy Holtzmeier, who spearheaded the exhibition in Avon. “This sculpture, whether you like it or dislike it, provides a different way to have a discussion about addiction and the fight for recovery.”
Additionally, Assist Communities will collect letters of encouragement to deliver to people in recovery from Lorain County. Letters may be mailed or dropped off at Avon City Hall.
“Although this art depicts the devastating crash that people experience from addiction, we want to emphasize that this is not a faceless problem,” says Thomas Stuber, President/CEO, The LCADA Way. “Those suffering from addiction are our children, siblings, nieces, nephews and neighbors.”
Avon hopes this heroin art installation raises awareness of addiction and recovery in their community. This project is a good start.