” The Art of Hope” program in action as participants consider Claude-Joseph Vernet’s” The Storm”( 1759)( courtesy the Currier Museum of Art, photo by Shawne K. Wickham/ NH Union Leader)
New Hampshire’s most populous city has a major stimulant question, but the Currier Art Museum is here to help families affected by addiction. The Manchester museum’s education department made” The Art of Hope” program in partnership with Partnership for Drug Free Kids , to provide a safe space for relatives of those to fight drug use to discuss the terms and conditions of resilience, self-care, social linkage, dishonor, and hope.
Participants spend a few hours each week contemplating the museum’s collection and accomplishing small art projects meant to provide coping mechanisms, and healing tools meant to mend shattered relationships among families and their drug-using relatives.
The focus of each session varies, but most begin with an introspective look at paints like the 18 th-century French painter Claude-Joseph Vernet’s” The Storm”( 1759 ). Professors select runs that can speak to the tumultuous nature of drug addiction and the collateral shatter it can impose on loved ones. Accordingly, Vernet’s painting illustrates turbid oceans and a shipwreck, with scrambling survivors dragging loved ones ashore and a gloomy mountain-bound fortress in the distance.
” There’s blue out there beyond, ” a woman observes at a recent group conference documented by Shawne Whickham for The New Hampshire Union Leader. “It’s going from the chaos to sunshine and glory.”
When asked by a facilitator why the people in the painting were so important to each other, one woman responded,” Survival. Helping each other. It goes to show when there’s some disaster, people do pick it up .”
“It shows that just because you induced it to shore, you may not be safe, ” another person said while looking at Vernet’s menacing waves.
Claude-Joseph Vernet,” The Storm”( 1759 ), petroleum on canvas, 38 1/2 in. x 53 in.( 97.79 cm x 134.62 cm)( courtesy Currier Museum of Art)
In 2015, Manchester, New Hampshire accounted for almost a quarter of fatal medicine overdoses reported in the different regions of the commonwealth, which also has the third-highest rate of stimulant overdose fatality in the nation. Three years later, the city is showing signs of improvement. Statistics from 2017 indicate a 27% decrease in overdose deaths per 2016( although nonfatal overdoses rose by 11%) and more people are utilizing the city’s 24 -hour Safe Stations built to assist addicts looking for help.
But relief in a state that President Donald Trump formerly derisively referred to as” a drug-infested den” cannot come quickly enough for the wide network of families affected by the ongoing opioid crisis, which claimed 72,000 lives last year.
” The Art of Hope” began upon the suggestion of the museum’s director, Alan Chong, and was then spearheaded by Lynn Thomson, an assistant director of education and community involvement who has worked at the Currier for the last six years.
” We are helping the community by offering them a home of reprieve and a sense of hope ,” Thomson tells Hyperallergic.” Art is a powerful mode to engage people in dialogue .”
Thomson, who has worked in museums for the last 20 times, explains that the program began with a simple question: What is Manchester dealing with now, and what does all levels of society necessity? Chong suggested that the Currier collaborate with Partnership for Drug Free Kids on a program, and thus” The Art of Hope” was bear. The nonprofit organization, which leads national campaigns to prevent teenage drug and alcohol abuse, also has a host of parent-mentors that help others in situations where their loved ones are suffering from substance abuse.
Thomson says that three of these parent-mentors have worked with the program from the beginning, lending their expertise on what topics to cover and how to approach them.
” We hear so much better about those that are suffering from the disease, but then there are loved ones who are suffering in a different various kinds of mode ,” Thomson mentions.” The impact on them is also massive .”
Accordingly,” The Art of Hope” program also employs its participants in some crafting exercisings. After looking at” The Storm ,” for example, group members established stamps and designed cards that they are able to ideally be sent out to estranged relatives or pals as a way of reaching out. After viewing a brightly-colored abstract scenery by Hans Hoffman, facilitators produced participants in a meditative breathing exercising; subsequently they created clay coil pots.
” It was mostly just about been slow and taking a few minutes to breathe ,” explains Thomson,” Folks are just invariably moving — especially when you have the load of such a heavy problem on your shoulders like substance abuse .”
” The Art of Hope” players create stamps and postcards to send to loved ones that they may have lost touch with during the course of its opioid crisis( courtesy the Currier Museum of Art, photo by Shawne K. Wickham/ NH Union Leader)
Although the exact number of people affected by a family member’s drug use is unknown, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that over 92, 100 children were placed in the foster care structure in 2016 due to removal from their dwellings associated with parental substance employ. Additionally, many children with drug-addicted mothers end up living with uncles, aunts, and grandparents. Many participants in” The Art of Hope” program fall into this category.
Facilitators use the Currier’s collection to try and speak to the specific experience of has become a caregiver.” The Art of Hope” has included paintings such as Glenn Ligon’s” Invisible Man”( 1991) and bigger installations like Ethan Murrow’s ” Hauling”( 2018 ), which illustrates Manchester’s complex histories of labor, cooperation, migration, and community.
Ethan Murrow,” Ledgers of Hine”( 2018 ), graphite on paper, 121.9 x 121.9 cm( 48 x 48 in .)( Courtesy of the artist and Winston Wachter Fine Art.( c) Ethan Murrow 2018)
Manchester is a city reached specially hard by the medication epidemic because it fights with a prevalence of illicit fentanyl, which are able to up to 100 times more potent than morphine; it’s a compound that is likely to be tinkered to create even more powerful narcotics and subvert regulation. Manchester is close to Highway 93, which connects the city to Lawrence, Massachusetts, a city that authorities believe to be the primary repository of smuggled medications on the East Coast.
Speaking with Hyperallergic, Thomson notes the breadth of issues facing Manchester’s community of drug users. The epidemic is so bad, she says, that recovery middles have waitlists and not sufficient couches to accommodate the needs of the their services. With such a strain on metropolitan assets, the museum is some ancillary relief.
Lois, a parent-mentor in the programme who requested Hyperallergic use merely her first name due to privacy regards, said today the Currier program is unique for New Hampshire.” It is a mix of practical assistance and self-care that these families don’t often have access to ,” she adds.
Thomson concurs, “re saying that” she has not considered any other museums nationwide with preexisting programs to support communities affected by medicine overdose.
But there is hope. She says that a number of colleagues have reached out to the Currier about” The Art of Hope” program for advice. Unlike the Currier’s program, nonetheless, Thomson predicts that these initiatives will likely be directed toward those to fight craving and those working in recovery.
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