Overdose Awareness Exhibition

"Amalgamation" by Lovelynn Miller

Overdose Awareness Exhibition


Welcome Gallery & Hallways

July 12 – September 14, 2024

In honor of Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, artists in Summit and contiguous counties created artworks exploring their personal experience with overdose and addiction, honoring a loved one who has died, and serving as an ally for those who have struggled. The day represents the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of those left behind.

In partnership with Summit County Public Health 

Did you know?

Most of the artwork on display at Summit Artspace is for sale.
Click on the artwork images for pricing and more information about each piece. 

If you would like to purchase any art, please visit a staff member or volunteer at the front desk, or email natalie@summitartspace.org.

1- Russell Rauber | The Fallen Addict | $260
Oil paint on canvas
Artist Statement: I hope you can take the time to step into the figure before you, the fallen addict. Many individuals in recovery describe addiction as feeling like a hollowed-out version of their former selves. Once the disease of addiction takes hold and hijacks the midbrain of the addict. The body, mind, and spirit become deeply wounded. My painting expresses the deep wounds as three marks within the center of the chest. These underlying wounds promote emotional instability within the addict, leading to a craving to suppress their feelings. The disease of addiction is chronic, it progressively becomes worse until death. I invite you to empathize with the fallen addict by seeing yourself within the figure. I hope it becomes a mirror to the nature of the addiction and creates an understanding of how close anyone can fall into the disease. Overdoses are heartbreaking and the result of a deadly disease left untreated. Addiction harms every aspect of a person’s life including their loved ones, we as a community must find love and hope for one another, one day at a time. 

2- June Hund | Scars | POR
String, Polycrylic, scratching, acrylic paint on paper
Artist Statement: Self-harming as a teen was a time of emotional distress. Burning, cutting, bruising was all used as mental emotional outlets for anxiety, irritability, restlessness and sadness. Extreme psychological distress is often difficult to identify or detect until you face yourself in the emergency room trying to save your child. This raw emotion can be triggered by guilt, shame, peer pressure or a variety of other mental issues. It is often overlooked and misunderstood. 

3- Laura DAlessandro | Mother and Child | $60
Lenticular print, Edition of 10

4- Laura DAlessandro | Hope in the Shadows | $60
Lenticular print, Edition of 10

5- Laura DAlessandro | Girl in the Ivy | $60
Lenticular print, Edition of 10

6- Amelia Golec | Prescription Pool | NFS
Marker on watercolor paper
Artist Statement: Who does the prescription pool belong to? Well, it’s Jamie’s.

Jamie Lallathin was my aunt. She died of a prescription drug overdose on December 2, 2021, from her sleeping medication. My aunt always struggled with depression and various other mental health issues from the age of 16. I did not know a day when she was not medicated or struggling with these issues. To me, it always felt like she was drowning in pills.

Now, notice the expiration date. That was the day I felt like she really died, April 11, 2010. That was the worst suicide attempt she had, in my opinion. She lined up her coffee table with 500 prescription pills of various kinds and took them all. She had a stroke, went into cardiac arrest twice, and was given CPR for 19 minutes while being airlifted to a hospital where she was in a coma for a week. I remember going to the hospital and being told to tell her goodbye.

So here we swim in the prescription pool, drowning in pills, saying goodbye to our loved ones too soon.

7- Meaghan Reed | Never meant to be… | $1,300
Acrylic paint, acrylic plexi, MDF
Artist Statement: In my experience with loss I have often found myself burdened by all the words I never said and should have; shattered dreams of all the moments that never were and never will be; the pain of a broken heart for the one you long to hear laugh again; the loneliness that there is an untold story written within you that no one knows or could understand. This is the burden of grief I carry, and I know it is not unique to me. This work is a symbolic release of that to find healing and hope. As these words that reflect my burden and brokenness are poured out on paper, they are released to the birds to be carried away so that I may find hope and not drown in all that never was, because it was never meant to be this way.

This artwork is interactive.
I invite you to write down your story, share your pain, write a prayer or say all the things you never said and wished you had and place it in the pile. I’m sorry, friend, that you also carry the burden, but may you know you are not alone and may peace which surpasses all understanding find you.

8- Daniel Noall | Dead Meat | $500
Acrylic and fabric paint, cotton sheet, wood planks
Artist Statement: A big part of the LGBTQ and queer community lies in the shadows of drugs and alcohol. Living in a world that doesn’t fully accept us has resulted in some of our community using self-destructive coping mechanisms. As alcoholism and addiction runs rampant in our society, it makes me look deeper into the person I’ve struggled with being. Why do I turn to these habits to allow myself to disassociate from the traumas I’ve endured? The path of self-destruction will leave me nothing more than a ghost, nothing but Dead Meat. 

9- Edlisa Santiago | Clean date Janurary 29, 2013 | NFS
Screen-print on glass, wood

10- Sarah Gordon | Trickle Down | $75
Graphite and colored pencil on paper
Artist Statement: This piece was inspired by my family’s past relations with alcoholism. To represent everything, there is a fountain which contains bottles of alcohol. From top to bottom, more alcohol is seen, trickling down the fountain, until finally it overflows into a sippy cup on the ground. The fountain represents the individual themselves and their growing problem with addiction. It first starts with just a little alcohol, but then expands to much more. Eventually, the problem grows to the point of overconsumption represented by the fountain’s slight overflow into the sippy cup. The overflow goes into a sippy cup specifically to represent how addiction can become more than the individual’s problem alone, as it “pours” over into personal or familial life.

Another aspect to this piece is that only the top half of the fountain is drawn with the artist’s dominant right hand; the lower half is drawn with the artist’s less dominant left hand. This was done to represent how as problems with addiction or overdose risk become more prominent, there is often less control seen in the individual’s life. Hence, the lower portion of the piece was drawn with less hand control (left hand). The surrounding shadows and gray area surrounding the fountain represent the frustrations or hesitations of the people connected to the individual. The various swirls and scribbles in this gray area are randomized yet close to the fountain. This represents how people may not know how to best help the individual but continue to support by staying close as they can.

Trickle Down ultimately represents how addiction starts small but can lead to much more with higher risks of overdose, dependence, and interpersonal issues in family or personal life.

11- June Hund | Happier Day | $200
Acrylic paint and Polycrylic on paper
Artist Statement: This is a collage on paper; this was a happier day. My daughter was in rehab and drug free. 

12- Ryan Cermak | Summoning Spell | NFS
Oil paint on canvas
Artist Statement: This intimate painting is an interpretation of my own personal struggle with addiction. Through this painting I am attempting to portray the seemingly supernatural influence addiction can have on the person suffering through it. Painting serves as a tool to invent and build new worlds. Through painting I create visual narratives that exist as fantasy yet remain embedded in reality.

Inspiration for my work stems from the pulpy fantasy magazine Heavy Metal and trading card games such as “Magic: The Gathering”. In addition, RPGs like “The Legend of Zelda” and “Dark Souls” also have a significant influence on my work. These games reference common tropes from age old myths and legends and repurpose them to relate to a modern audience. In a similar way that Link’s Master Sword, which is an evolution of the legend of King Arthur and Excalibur, I see painting as a space to reinterpret the past and reevaluate the future. At the core of my work is the exploration of how ancient myths and legends continue to evolve and resonate with people today.

13- Jaida Mustafa | Opening Up | $1,500
Acrylic paint, copper leaves

14- Jevante King-Woods | Withdrawal | $2,500
Acrylic paint on canvas

15- Joseph Randolph | The Mystery of the Incarnation | $10,000
Oil painting
Artist Statement: This painting is the centerpiece of a triptych on addiction and recovery, symbolizing the expurgation, rebirth, and absolution that recovery arouses. The amalgamation of human form and natural elements emphasizes this duality— juxtaposing human resilience against the decay wrought by substance dependence. The work ties into René Girard’s theory of scapegoating and mimetic rivalry, suggesting that personal recovery mirrors the communal expulsion of the scapegoat. In this light, the individual’s struggle becomes a microcosm of societal purification and renewal, where expurgation and rebirth are not merely personal but inherently connected to broader cultural rituals and myths.

In mythological and religious contexts, the worm often symbolizes decay, death, and rebirth. The worm’s presence in this painting evokes themes of transformation and renewal found in various cultural narratives. In Christian symbolism, for example, worms are often associated with the corruption of the flesh and the transience of earthly life, yet they also signify the potential for spiritual rebirth and redemption. This duality aligns with the journey of the addict, who must confront the decay wrought by addiction to achieve personal renewal and spiritual rebirth.

The brain obstructing the mouth represents the expurgation and spiritual catharsis of the addict’s journey. It symbolizes the expulsion of the old self, riddled with the burdens of addiction, and the creation of a new, rejuvenated identity. The flower emerging from the crown signifies this renewal and growth. This transformation is deeply connected to the archetype of the self in mythology and religion, where rebirth and resurrection often follow a period of profound suffering and introspection. The brain and flower together reflect the idea that true recovery involves a rebirth of the self.

16- June Hund | Missing | POR
Sewing pattern paper, watercolor, metal spoons, nails, copper wire on wood
Artist Statement: When I discovered that the spoons were missing from the cupboard, I also discovered other drug paraphernalia in my home. I found syringes, spoons, wire, lighters, foil paper. At first, I felt disbelief, anger, vulnerability, shock, but, most of all betrayal. How could my daughter do this? As I tried to put the pieces together and figure out what was going on. This was when I realized that my daughter was using heroin. All the evidence was in front of me; my daughter needed help.

At first, I wondered why or how this could happen. As I researched and reached out for help, I quickly discovered the stigma and discrimination against both the drug addict and the family. She was sick. This reality was harsh and mentally devastating; not only was my daughter caught as a victim, but I also became an unwilling codependent. All the evidence was concrete; my daughter had a disease and she needed help.

Addiction does not discriminate; it can affect anyone. Drugs interfere with the way neurons send, receive, and process signals via neurotransmitters. Heroin activates the neuron’s chemical structure in the brain. The drug addict becomes unbalanced quickly. The drug controls all emotions, or mental health issues, along with physical attributes. The addiction quickly spirals into dependency impacting the individual, the family, and the community.

After 8.5 years of battling addiction, my beloved daughter, Amanda Ruth Black, died of a heroin fentanyl overdose at age 27 in 2018.

17- Kellie Collier | Preserving Joy | $400
Collage, acrylic paints, acrylic inks, and mixed media gel sticks
Artist Statement: Creating art began as an integral part of my healing journey after the loss of my daughter, Courtney Joy, due to an overdose in 2018. Over the years it has evolved into a life practice. I tend to create from a space that allows the complex themes of life, such as grief and pain, to blend with more lighthearted themes, like Joy and happiness. This is where I find the most personal and fulfilling pieces I have created.

I view my art as a magical co-creation between connecting with my daughter and reconnecting with myself. This connection is the purpose of my annual #100DaysofJoy art challenge. I began this challenge as a support to assist me through my late daughter’s birthday, October, along with the end of the year holiday season. The practice of creating art daily for 100 days is a sacred container for me to intentionally connect with my daughter while exploring new techniques and mediums. My goal is to bring some Joy into everything I create.

18- Diane Pribojan | Hope | $100
Acrylic paint on canvas
Artist Statement: Being involved in the Overdose Awareness Campaign is important to me because I want to contribute to the cause through my art. I believe that the power of art stimulates action and discussion in the community and raises awareness to help end overdose. Hopefully reaching the public through art promotes prevention and helps facilitate action. In my artwork, I have taken fragments and put them together to create the word “Hope” as a symbol of togetherness and connectedness of our shared humanity. 

19- Bobbie Tiedt Donohew | A Bright Flash of Pink | NFS
Watercolor paint on paper
Artist Statement: My friend Mindy was a bright flash of pink. She wore pink, she lived pink. I think her aura was probably pink. She was bright, spirited, fun, and vivacious. She lived for good times with family and friends at her camper and warm summer evenings around the bonfire. Fix the tractor? No problem! She could tackle mechanical problems with the best of them.

Amid all her brightness, Mindy struggled with a chronic pain problem. She sought relief through traditional medical channels, but unfortunately, the options offered to her did not ease her pain. In desperation, she found herself looking for help outside the traditional medical community. Unreliable channels with deadly consequences.

Mindy was one of the many recent deadly fentanyl overdoses in the Akron area. One pill laced with fentanyl took her beautiful, bright life. She was a beloved daughter, a proud mom, an adoring aunt, a loving sister, and my dear friend.

I painted this portrait of Mindy to honor her the best way I know. I am offering it up to this exhibition to help spread awareness of the many lives that are being destroyed in our community due to fentanyl overdoses.

20- Alison Rich | Becky | NFS
Artist Statement: The piece is painting in memory of my cousin who died of an overdose of fentanyl that was given to her by someone she trusted. She left behind a beautiful daughter and a family that misses her terribly. 

21- Rachel Hrepcak | Help Me | NFS
Acrylic paint on vinyl record
Complementary Text
A distant memory

The first time I watched someone shoot up I was 16

Sitting on a couch with a friend across from this young man who began to tie off

Asking me “Why the fuck I was there? And what did I want with my life?”

I replied, “I’m an artist, I’d like to go to art school one day.” I was both in shock and fascinated.

In this moment I looked at my friend as he cooked this liquid into a spoon with a needle.

He was so angry saying to me how his mom was an artist, and she wasted her whole life making art going nowhere. He scolded me for being so young in this house. And told me that art was a waste.

Before the needle hit his arm I said to my friend “Let’s walk.”

So, me and my friend then got up and walked out the front door to the median of grass across the street. Unpacking what I had just witnessed, the sun began to rise.

The punk house was mostly asleep, but we were up drinking all night long

Beer cans, 40 oz bottles and cigarette butts scattered along the porch and throughout the home. Spray painted couches and anarchy symbols everywhere I felt at home for the first time in my life. The night before a local punk band played in the basement. It was 2005.

So, then this girl who lived there woke up and we began the morning trek to buy more beer. Across the bridge under

The Midwest Sun we walked and walked and walked

To get a 30 pack of Milwaukee’s Best Ice.

I don’t remember much after that, honestly, just getting a ride back with the girl with track marks on her arms to my mom’s house

Giving her gas money and a kiss.

I’d see her the next weekend for more whiskey and cheap beer.

Vivid yet distant, this memory is one I’ll never forget and always share.

22- Lovelynn Miller | Amalgamation | $150
Oil paint on canvas
Artist Statement: Pain can sit and sting before it ever even begins to rot, but you’ll be able to smell it. This piece is a look into my childhood experience of not knowing what I was encountering but knowing it wasn’t right. 

See the Summit Artspace exhibit schedule for show details.
Have questions? Here is our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Shopping Cart

stay informed!

Subscribe to receive the Summit Artspace newsletter