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Operation Monarch: Addressing Substance Abuse, Recovery, and the Role of Art
*UPDATED Deadline for entries: February 17, 2019

In the Spring of 2019, the Columbus Cultural Arts Center (CAC) will host a major exhibition focused on the substance abuse crisis now gripping Ohio (and much of the nation). The goals for this exhibition, Operation Monarch: Addressing Substance Abuse, Recovery, and the Role of Art, are several-fold:

  • To educate and challenge the Greater Columbus community about their perceptions of Substance Use Disorders and those who have endured its deadly grasp; and
  • To show that recovery is possible and how art can have an important role in the process.

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

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 ran 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 AIDS research. Arter has direct experience with the power of art as a tool in the recovery process.

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