Impacts Of Addiction Inspire Student-Made Art

High schoolers paint an important picture about addiction recovery

Several dozen paintings on display in Sioux Falls Friday evening depict the struggle of overcoming addiction.  Amazingly, the artists behind them are only teenagers.

Around 45 high schoolers from Roosevelt and Axtell Park created artwork for the “Art of Healing” art show downtown.  Many students in the show have either battled addiction, or have had a loved one go through it.  One artist we spoke to, 15-year-old Jonathan Ekberg, a freshman at Roosevelt, lost his 20-year-old cousin to a drug overdose last fall.  Another artist, 16-year-old Alexia Moya, a Roosevelt junior, recovered from self-harm addiction which she struggled with her entire freshman year.

“My painting has the quote on it ‘Addiction doesn’t just hurt you, it hurts everyone around you,’ so I just wanted people to know that addiction is not the way to go, drugs and alcohol are not the way to go,” Moya explains.

Ekberg adds, “I’m not really good at expressing my feelings face to face or on paper, so I thought doing this art project would help me get my message out there; spread the word not to do drugs and help kids learn what drugs can really do to you.”

The organizer of the art show, Joan Zephier, is in recovery for alcohol addiction.  She says many of the kids did not consider themselves “artists” before getting involved.

“The important part of this project is that they can tell their story, so that the rest of us can witness it and that they can get it out,” says Zephier.

After the show, the paintings will either go back to the student-artists who created them, go back to their school, or will be displayed in an even bigger recovery art show through the organization Tallgrass in September.

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