Massillon Museum’s INTO LIGHT Project Ohio Exhibition
INTO LIGHT Project Ohio: Changing the Conversation will open in the Massillon Museum’s Fred F. Silk Community Room Gallery on Saturday, November 12, and continue through January 4, 2023. The exhibit presents drawings of Ohio individuals who have lost their lives resulting from drug addiction.
INTO LIGHT Project is a national nonprofit organization documenting the tragic loss of human life from the disease of drug addiction. One original exhibit is mounted in every state, each uniquely presenting lives locally lost to addiction, overdose, and drug poisoning. To date, 268 individual lives have been memorialized by INTO LIGHT Project. This number represents only a small fraction of drug-related deaths in the United States, which in 2021 alone were estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to number 107,622.
Through the use of storytelling and art, INTO LIGHT Project aims to combat the myth of drug addiction as a choice and the stigma of overdose as a moral failure. Each thoughtfully written life story, based on interviews with surviving loved ones, is accompanied by a graphite portrait. The black and white medium serves as an intentional metaphor for the fact that every life includes both light and dark moments. Looking only at the darkest times in a person’s life does not fully represent who they are.
Theresa Clower, INTO LIGHT Project founder and portrait artist, lost her son, Devin, to an accidental overdose in February 2018. His death was the inspiration for INTO LIGHT Project. Clower believes the INTO LIGHT exhibition has the potential to change minds about addiction and to put a human face and story on this disease. She hopes that through the portraits others can see we are all made up of light and dark and that no one should be defined by their darkest moments.
Heather Bullach, a portrait and landscape artist, created twenty-one portraits for the INTO LIGHT Project Ohio series. She earned her bachelor’s degree in art at Malone University in 2011. She has won several awards and her work is widely exhibited throughout northeast Ohio; Bullach has had seven solo exhibitions since 2011, as well as two public artworks in Downtown Canton. She taught painting at Malone University from 2015 to 2019 and resides in Canton, Ohio.
Barbara Francois, INTO LIGHT Project assistant director and narrative writer, gathered information from loved ones and wrote narratives to tell their stories. She used her experience in writing, coupled with her background as a psychologist to depict individuals pictured in the exhibition. After viewing this exhibition she encourages visitors to advocate for the dignity of those who become addicted to drugs and their right to medical treatment to actively combat stigmas about drug addiction and overdose.
Informational panels accompany the exhibit to draw attention to the dangers of fentanyl, overdose statistics, and resources available for those who need help.
MassMu receives operational support from the Ohio Arts Council and ArtsinStark. Malone University helped sponsor this exhibit, and it is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Massillon Museum’s galleries are open Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Hours are extended until 7:00 p.m. on the last Saturday of each month in collaboration with Massillon’s Last Saturday event.
The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East in downtown Massillon. A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free and everyone is welcome. For more information, call the Museum at 330-833-4061 or visit massillonmuseum.org.
Alexandra Nicholis Coon, Executive Director • 330.833.4061 x111
Margy Vogt, Public Relations Coordinator • 330.844.1525
Charles, by Heather Bullach