Art and substance abuse have long held a reputation for belonging together, although typically it involves artists abusing drugs or alcohol for their craft. However, art can be used for healing as well, and many recovery treatment centers now use art as a way to help their patients express themselves and work on the issues that triggered their addiction. Studies have shown that artistic expression and creativity can help the recovery and healing process as an expressive form of therapy. Frontline Foundation Recovery Program has taken the relationship of art expression and substance abuse a step further by creating a Chicago area art festival.
Live Street Art Festival
This year marked the third year of Frontline Foundation’s Hooked on Art – Live Street Art Festival. It took place on Saturday, September 27,2014, in Downtown Chesterton at the Thomas Centennial Park. The festival provides exposure for many of the street artists, especially as Frontline sets a limit on the number so that each artist can be given an opportunity to shine. The event takes place in conjunction with Duneland Chamber’s European Market, providing the opportunity for many people to come to the event. There are also vender booths where artists and others can sell items to visitors.
The event features chalk artists and live street artists. The chalk artists are given a 4×4 space for creating artwork during the festival, as well as chalk art supplies. They can also compete for the $1,000 “Best in Show” cash prize and can be individuals or teams. The artists create their work while visitors walk by, providing opportunities for artists and visitors to talk.
The 2014 Event
This year, the event had perfect weather for the artists and visitors to enjoy the day of art. There were 35 artists participating, and some of the themes of their artwork included butterflies, rocket ships, owls, sharks, jellyfish and deer. This year, they also added some events to increase family involvement. They had a space where visitors could create a hat, make sand art, or craft a frame. There was also more involvement from the local schools, including substance abuse education.
This year, several of the Porter County churches hosted a food tent. There was also a large memoir wall placed in the middle of the festival with chalkboards on each side of a square pillar. Visitors to the festival could write on it to honor, celebrate or memorialize a loved one with substance abuse problems. Many people found this addition an emotionally satisfying experience.
The Purpose of the Festival
Hooked on Art is a fundraiser for Frontline Foundation’s recovery program. Frontline is a non-profit substance abuse treatment center for economically disadvantaged young adults that offers art recovery support as part of its program. In addition to providing art workshops as a way for patients to learn to express themselves during recovery, they also offer recovery workshops, individual therapy, and peer-to-peer group sessions.
The facility opened in 2007 to offer services that incorporated clinical therapeutic modalities with non-denominational faith-based principles that can facility healing and recovery. During the event, there is also an auction to help raise money.
Hooked on Art
Frontline uses Hooked on Art not just as a way to raise money for its facility and treatment program, but also to engage with the community and educate about substance abuse. However, primarily it is a day of fun to celebrate artistic expression and provide activities for the local community.
The local churches, schools, and other organizations come together to create a festival for residents to enjoy. Frontline plans to continue this annual fundraising event to continue to create awareness about the problem of substance abuse, as well as the healing power of art.