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Operation Monarch: Addressing Substance Abuse, Recovery, and the Role of Art
MARCH 29 - MAY 11, 2019
Artists' Reception: Friday, April 5 | 6-8 PM

The Columbus Recreation & Parks Department's Cultural Arts Center (CAC) hosts Operation Monarch, an exhibition of contemporary works by Ohio artists co-curated by Bev Goldie and Myken Pullins. The substance abuse crisis continues to dominate the news as more and more Ohio families find their lives impacted by addiction. This exhibition shares the stories of those affected and explores the role of art through the journey of recovery.

It’s a rare day when you can pick up a newspaper without some reference to the social and economic fallout from substance abuse. Addiction is a multi-faceted problem that affects not only the individual but also families, friends, employers, and society as a whole. There is hardly a person in Ohio who has not been touched by this crisis. Operation Monarch will allow us to see how some individuals have overcome their addiction partially through making art. Indeed, the title of the exhibition was chosen to reflect that addiction and recovery are parts of a journey of transformation. We hope that art will help us understand the stories of those most affected by the crisis.

Image: Bev Goldie, Fragile: Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate, Encaustic Mixed Media

  • Friday, April 19 | 7:30 - 9:30 PM | FREE
    "Tar" - A play by Jason Beehler
    // Doors open at 7 p.m.

    Join us for "Tar" - A play by Jason Beehler at the Cultural Arts Center! "Tar" is three stories in one. It's the story of how Southern and Central Ohio became ground zero for the opioid epidemic in America. It's the story of how addiction to these drugs has been woven into our popular culture since ancient times. And most importantly, it's the story of the devastating impact that opioid addiction has on real people, in our community and elsewhere. This powerful presentation, in partnership with CATCO, features 11 Columbus based actors. Admission is free.
  • Thursday, April 25 | Noon - 1 PM | FREE
    Conversations & Coffee - Artist Talk
    Featuring Co-Curators Bev Goldie, Myken Pullins and Operation Monarch featured artist Nora Daniel

  • Friday, May 3 | 7:30 - 9:30 PM | FREE
    Poetry Showcase
    // Doors open at 7 p.m.

    Join us at the Cultural Arts Center for a night of poetry amidst the "Operation Monarch: Addressing Substance Abuse, Recovery, and the Role of Art" exhibition. Listen as a collection of award-winning poets are joined by a group of artists in recovery to celebrate survival, beauty, and the art that brings them together. Admission is free.
  • Thursday, May 9 | Noon - 1 PM | FREE
    Conversations & Coffee - Artist Talk

-Brooke Albrecht                     
-Miriam Alicea
-Amber Baumgartner
-Loni Becker
-Rick Borgia
-Jennifer Brown
-Dana Byrne
-Craig Carlisle (Invited Artist)
-Bridgette Clifton
-Christopher Cropper
-Nora Daniel
-Amira Djafi
-James Edinger
-Mya Fannon
-Samantha Farkas
-Mary Fernandez Stewart
-Jane Flewellen
-Jessica Fowler
-Justin Frehs (Invited Artist)
-Barbara Allen Frost
-Bev Goldie (Invited Artist)
-Roger Kent Grosswiler Jr. (Invited Artist)
-Dana Grubbe
-Michael Halliday (Invited Artist)
-Sarah Helgeson
-Paula Izydorek
-Sanhita Jana
-Galya Kerns
-GW Leach
-David Leonard (Invited Artist)
-Jeff Lint
-Megan Loftus

-Sherri Love
-Ariel Lusco
-Eric Marlow
-Lynda McClanahan
-Christy Mihelich
-Arlo Moon
-D. Wayne Moore
-Jonelle Newman
-Linwood “Lonny” Nichols
-Patrick Paquin
-Magda Parasidis
-Christopher Perkins
-Logan Rance
-Drue Roberts
-Mandee Rohn
-Denise Romecki
-Sandra Schwartz
-Jenny Scranton
-Adrian Sibley
-Holly Smith
-Jennifer Sowders
-Robert Studzinski
-David Surrena
-Gale Suver
-Barbara Swysgood
-Sue VanWassenhove
-David Wheeler
-Paul Wilbur
-Roger Williams
-Aimee Wissman
-Joel Yeager
-Caryl Young

     As individuals interested in recovery from substance abuse for personal reasons, Myken Pullins and Bev Goldie have shared their passion to present an impactful exhibition on the subject. Substance Use Disorders is a multi-faceted and complex subject - often with uncomfortable situations and stigma for the individuals addicted and their families. Treatment and recovery can also be just as complex. They felt through art that emotions could be expressed on a whole different level – perhaps deeper than words, books, movies or commercials. They both were eager to help with this important exhibition.

Across the state of Ohio, the call for entries attracted many unforgettable images and stories to include in the exhibit. Myken and Bev attempted to display them in as meaningful a way as possible. They respected the artists’ bravery for sharing their stories and art with them, and thus with the public.They tried to incorporate suggestions and ideas from the many caring and knowledgeable Advisory Board members, who also shared their intense interest in bringing this subject into focus.

By including the personal messages with the art; showing the multitude of newspaper articles written about addiction and recovery; sharing an interactive article and graphics by the New York Times to explain the condition; encouraging interaction with the viewers in several ways; and presenting the work as honestly as possible – they hope many others feel moved too. The goal was to address, educate, challenge and possibly change perspectives about the whole subject.

The viewers are encouraged to pen a message about how they feel or are affected by substance use disorders and/or the addiction epidemic in an anonymous way. They are challenged to add a personal experience on the Wall of Recovery. It is their hope they’ll  address the issue with someone who is currently active in their addiction or someone who is on their recovery journey. Anyone visiting the exhibition that needs help has access to provider information about treatment and recovery.  

Myken and Bev thank the members of the Advisory Board, the jurors, the staff of the Columbus Cultural Arts Center, the many organizations sponsoring the show, the anchor artists and the many other artists who have entered their work. An exhibition can only be as strong as the artists and patrons who support it.

Myken Pullins has worked at Fresh A.I.R. Gallery (Artists in Recovery), a project of Southeast Healthcare, for the past 14 years. She has worked with hundreds of artists in all different stages of recovery from mental illness and/or substance use disorders and strongly believes that art plays an important role in their recovery towards healing. Coming from a family of artists, working in communications and finding collaborations for the arts and mental health has been a passion and priority of hers.

Bev Goldie is a local artist and faculty member at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center. She was the proposing artist for Operation Monarch, and agreed to be one of the curators. She has curated shows for the Central Ohio Branch of the National League of American Pen Women, her own student’s shows and many of her own shows in galleries and restaurants. She has worked with Myken in the past in several ways for Fresh A.I.R. exhibits and events, and felt she was the perfect partner to assist with this undertaking.

Mary Gray joined the OAC staff in January 1993 as a grants administrative assistant and accepted the newly created position of Riffe Gallery assistant coordinator in October of the same year. In the fall of 1998, Ms. Gray was named Riffe Gallery director. She is responsible for managing exhibition selection and coordination, and all activities related to the Riffe Gallery. Some of her duties include overseeing the gallery’s educational programming and marketing efforts, supervising gallery assistants, fellows and preparators, working with curators and artists, designing installations, shipping and insurance arrangements for all exhibitions, and facility management in coordination with the Department of Administrative Services.

Ms. Gray served on the OAC’s International Committee and has extensive experience coordinating international traveling exhibitions. She has juried several exhibitions for various arts organizations, universities and colleges across the state, and West Virginia. Since 2006 she has served as art consultant to the Supreme Court of Ohio, and is a member of the Commission of the Ohio Judicial Center. Gray is a member of The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences’ Town and Gown Advisory committee, and a member of the City of Columbus Art Commission. Ms. Gray serves on the Central Ohio Visual Arts Consortium Steering Committee. She served on the board of the Jefferson Center’s Academy for Leadership and Governance, the National Advisory Board of the University of Findlay’s Mazza Collection, and the Ohio Women in Government Executive Committee. She was a Fellow in the 2001 Next Generation of Leadership Program.

Ms. Gray graduated from the University of Michigan in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in theatre and drama with a focus on acting. For six years prior to joining the OAC staff, Ms. Gray worked at the former Players Theatre Columbus as group sales manager. When time permits, she enjoys performing for various theatre companies in Central Ohio, and doing voice-over work. Gray was awarded Best Supporting Actress by the Columbus Theatre Roundtable in 2012 and 2018. Mary is married to Dan Gray, scenic designer and faculty of The Ohio State University Department of Theatre.

Jim Arter is many things: a visual Artist; a mentor, a teacher, an activist – but above all, a catalyst. For many years he partcipated in the Greater Columbus Arts Council's Artist-in Schools Program, bringing the joy of creativity to thousands of children in our community. In 2004, he received the Governor’s Award for Arts in Education. He is co-founder of the Annual “Art for Life” Auction which since 1989 has raised millions of dollars for the AIDS community. Arter has direct experience with the power of art as a tool in the recovery process.

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