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Resurrection Exhibit allowed local artists to share stories of addiction, recovery

Jun 28, 2018 09:31AM ● Published by Josh Wood

“The 12 Steps” by Carin Fausett. (Joshua Wood/City Journals)

By Joshua Wood | joshw@mycityjournals.co

Addiction and recovery can be hard to understand. It can also be difficult to put into words. The Resurrection Exhibit that took place this May in the Cottonwood Heights City Hall Gallery provided a platform for people to share their stories of addiction, recovery and support. 

Local artist Carin Fausett uses her art to express the deep feelings of isolation, fear, vulnerability and frustration associated with addiction. It helped her as she supported her sons through their recovery, and now she strives to give others the opportunity to express themselves. 

“My sons started having problems with addiction,” Fausett said. “I had to figure out a way to understand what they’re going through, so I decided to paint the 12 Steps. Instead of trying to fix them, I thought, let’s understand them.” 

One of Fausett’s sons published his story of addiction and recovery on Facebook. In doing so, he was able to help a lot of people. That inspired Fausett to find ways for other people to tell their stories. 

“If we tell our story, we are not alone, not isolated, and we can help others,” Fausett said. “If I have wisdom for which I paid a great price, I can share that and help other people avoid suicide and things like that.”

This led Fausett to link with groups like Addict to Artist. In fact, the recent exhibit at Cottonwood Heights City Hall involved nine different organizations. Over 40 works of art were displayed as well as seven performances from artists using music to express themselves. 

“A lot of artists participated,” said Cottonwood Heights Events Coordinator Ann Eatchel. “There was a lot of positive feedback.” 

The event helped people express their experiences with addiction and recovery and for those viewing the artwork to better understand them and their stories. That connection helps break the feelings of isolation so common to addiction.

“Everyone in the exhibit had been through a recovery process,” Fausett said. “Everyone could tell their story, not be isolated, and have their stories heard.” 

The exhibit even involved people who contributed their art while incarcerated. It offered inspiration to people visiting the exhibit.

“Local addiction centers brought people to the exhibit, and then did art therapy actually right outside the building after,” said Cottonwood Heights Public Relations Specialist Dan Metcalf, Jr. 

The Resurrection Exhibit featured a variety of work, from paintings to sculpture. Fausett’s powerful depictions of the 12 Steps use stark imagery of each stage of the process. From the darkest of shadows to the glowing light of hope, she captures the struggle of recovery. 

A theme running through each artist’s work is honesty. From vulnerable self-portraits to shackles breaking from wrists and birds flying free, the therapeutic value of each individual’s artistic representation of addiction and recovery comes through. For that, the artists themselves were profoundly grateful. 

“I was told several times thank you for providing this opportunity,” Fausett said. “This is an opportunity to tell your story, to not have shame, and to be understood.” 

Artists participating in the Resurrection Exhibit came from all over the Wasatch Front, from Spanish Fork to Bountiful. There was even an artist from Ohio included in the event. 

The next exhibit will take place in May 2019 and will serve as an opportunity for friends and family of people in recovery to share their stories. The theme will be “As I have loved you,” a significant concept for those who have helped loves ones through addiction and recovery. 

“As I have loved you, I have hated you, I have forgiven you, I have learned to love myself,” Fausett said. “It’s about transformation as they are helping someone through recovery.”

People interested in participating in next year’s exhibit can get details at www.carinfausett.com. The next exhibit will provide more opportunity for people to connect and understand each other. 

As Fausett states, “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is connection.” The Resurrection Exhibit helped many people in the community to do just that.

 

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