This shout-out is for friend, colleague, mentor, and artist Ed Wedman, aka Arthur Jacob. Arthur Jacob Gallery. Every image and every word on the Faces of Addiction website is there because Ed Wedman designed this site, built it, and updates it.
Ed has put well over a hundred hours into this project, and it wouldn’t be alive today without his continuing efforts.
On Friday Faces of Addiction reached an important goal — 30 addicted persons interviewed and photographed! Our initial goal was 30-50, and we have met the first one — now on to the 50 person goal.
What I’m learning as this process continues is how much addicted people need to feel seen and heard. And how much they need help … and frequently don’t know how to ask for it or need more courage to ask for it. On Friday, Andre Barker told me “it hurts when people refuse to look at you. Sometimes a smile is worth more than a dollar.”
So thank you to volunteers Andre Barker and TJ Ferris of Covington for getting us to what was a goal, and is now a waypoint. On Sunday we’re scheduled for another shoot — onwards to the goal of 50!
A couple of days ago I was asked by a potential sponsor to give him an “elevator speech” (the time it takes the elevator to go from one floor to the next) on the permanent impact of this project. Here it is:
Faces of Addiction uses portraits and stories to shift the conversation around addiction. It’s the difference between saying (and thinking) “an addict” and “an addicted person.” One’s a thing, the other a human, and that’s the point. This change makes compassion possible. If people see these faces and read these stories, they will be able to make the shift. If a few thousand experience this, that’s to the good. If it’s half a million or more, that’s making a real social change.
That’s the elevator speech. 30 seconds. I’m glad I was asked the question, because while I knew what the impact was, I’d never explained it properly. Faces of Addiction is a project to enable compassion.
Faces of Addiction is an art project to increase awareness and understanding of addiction through fine-art portraits of addicts, along with brief stories of their lives. The goal is to enable viewers to relate to addicts as individuals, not as numbers, statistics, or labels.
This website is now officially up and running. Faces of Addiction, Inc is now an Ohio non-profit corporation, and our tax-exempt tax status certification is in the works. We have also been busy interviewing portrait volunteers and creating biographies and final portraits. All this takes time and effort, and is incredibly exciting. Thanks to all who have participated and volunteered their help so far!
On Tuesday, March 6, sponsor Mike Harris, a recovering alcohlic who has founded a club for recovering alcoholics (and others) in Hamilton, OH, accompanied photog Eric Hatch on a field trip to locate and recruit volunteer portrait subjects. By day’s end we had met, recruited, interviewed, and photographed six persons. A huge leap forward!
Gateway House is a clean-living community in Cincinnati. One resident, well advanced in his recovery, volunteered as a portrait subject. Keith Maynard was our fourth subject. Keith in turn introduced us to another addict, Robbie Tweed, far earlier in recovery than Keith. Robbie’s goal is to help others by going to halfway houses and treatment centers to talk about his own addiction. However, he says, “with my record, they won’t let me inside, so maybe Faces of Addiction is one way I can tell my story.”
March 6, 2018 — Project sponsor Mike Harris, himself a recovering addict (alcohol), has taken a major role in Faces of Addiction. He has founded a club for recovering alcoholics in Hamilton, OH. Now he has donated cash, McDonald’s gift cards, and much time and energy to Faces of Addiction. Thank, you Mike!