Students Addressing Addiction Through Artwork
Every person has their own unique way of addressing addiction. Even if they aren’t the ones using, it’s a common fact that nearly all people in America have encountered it in some form (be it through family, friends or what have you). And that goes for teens as well. In the case of Lower Shore High School students over in Salisbury, Maryland, the representation is being expressed through art. Specifically a contest gallery, featuring paintings, sketches and sculptures from kids hoping to raise awareness.
Sponsored by The United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore, this unique gallery has made national headlines and will be handing out up to $10,000 for the school’s most talented artists. For one special night, the students will be on hand to present their works, share their inspirations and join in on real discussions about teenage drug and alcohol abuse. The event even caught the attention of Maryland’s governor, with reps from Larry Hogan’s office (and state attorney Clay Stamp) joining in to judge.
Via the event Facebook site, students have already begun demonstrating their works online. Below are a few examples, which illustrate just how prominent these issues have become with America’s youth.
This first piece of art was submitted by student Joseph Wood and illustrates the dominance that heroin and opioid abuse has had in his community. You can see a powerful message equating the needle to the grave.
A second piece, submitted by student Jinasia Brown, shows the impact that addiction can have on a family. Here pills and bloody cracks appear, separating a person’s hand from the grip of its loved ones.
A third piece, submitted by student Taylor Smith, also offers a grim reminder of the dangers of addiction. This one signifies death and entrapment. Particularly, how a dependency can keep someone caged up and on the road to ruin.
Student Jorge Gil-Leyva’s entry appears to take on a celebrity angle, profiling the late rock icon Prince and the deadly painkiller addiction that led to his demise.
Student Brie Connor also chose to highlight pills and the numbing effects they can have on a personality. Using a creative blend of colors, she focused in on elements like denial, subservience and death.
Student artist Kaylan Peattie took on World War II icon Rosie the Riveter, but with a very different twist. If anything this painting displayed a message of hope, urging viewers to turn away from the needle.
Yes, we certainly understand that these are very somber works. But they also reflect what typical teens are seeing and experiencing in their communities. Whether it’s in the home, around the classroom with their peers or even in news stories across the web…Addiction is a topic that teens are very much aware of and it needs to be addressed with all of the high schoolers in the family.