A burning desire to help heroin addicts kick habit has prompted a Tiffin, OH, man frustrated with the fight, to use his art as a weapon. The city of Avon has been among the many to initiate forums and meetings discussing the topic, and now have become the first to spread awareness using art.
The eye catching exhibit was created by a millennial artist. Ryan Poignon says the display is his artistic interpretation of how one achieves a high from drug use, only to come plummeting down to a disastrous low.
"I used recycled materials to create figures that are half human and half syringe, and ultimately they climb up the ladder. And in drug abuse you climb to find that ultimate high from your drug abuse to only come one beam down and into an all time low. So that's really a visual of something that we can't really just grasp in our mind or read it in the newspaper, you know even hearing in news every day about heroin, a piece of art like this brings more awareness to the literal aspect of it," said Ryan Poignon of The Poignon Project Art Studio & Gallery.
"I was flipping through my Facebook feed and there was an image of this sculpture that just caught my eye. But what really caught my attention was someone in front of it that I knew, holding that hashtag. And I thought to myself, how on earth did this person have anything to do with heroin? I just couldn't make the connection," said Avon City Councilwoman-At-Large Tammy Holtzmeier. "So I began to look a little bit into the art, and I realized if this got my attention, this could get other people's attention, and this could get more people talking about it in a way they feel comfortable. That's what we need."
The hashtag Councilwoman Holtzmeier is talking about is #FightForRecovery. Poignon says he created the hashtag to support the idea that 'people that were addicted are proud of that story, of coming clean, because it's such a hard thing to overcome, and they want other users to feel the same way.' Avon officials hope the hashtag will be frequently used on social media platforms over the next two weeks.
Four community organizations are supporting Avon's efforts. They include The LCADA Way, Assist Communities (Formerly Assist Avon Lake), ADAS and The Cleveland Clinic.
"Cleveland Clinic is a fantastic partner with the city of Avon. They have facilities here, they're very involved with this fight with addiction, so it was a very natural partnership for them to want to do something," Councilwoman Holtzmeier added.
The exhibit the work will be on display through March 7, in front of Little League Park on Detroit Road. In that time, Holtzmeier hopes that it will gain attention and force citizens to recognize the presence of the drug in their own communities.
"A lot of times it involves a tragedy to get people talking about heroin. So we wanted to have a means to interact, for people to lend their faces, lend their voices, to lend their experience to this addiction and to talk about it," said Holtzmeier.
After leaving Avon it will travel the state to continue raise awareness.
"We have other offers on taking us to other communities. I really want to focus on Ohio right now, maybe get into the Columbus or Cincinnati area to just really cap off awareness for Ohio," added Poignon. "And then I've already had proposals from a couple of other states to get this into their communities and you know, spread the awareness. Because it's not only Ohio suffering from this, you might think that your community is getting hit hard but if you look around it's every community that's getting hit hard. Really a big step is pushing awareness, and awareness will create the conversation to lead to solving this problem."
Holtzmeier is proud to say that Avon police and fire are equipped to save lives threatened by heroin overdoses, but was sad to admit that they are used regularly. She, along with the much of the city of Avon, hope that this art installation will be another step toward ending that trend.