Art of Recovery in-person return a success

Apr 21, 2022

Authored by: Community Support Services

It’s been a long two years since COVID-19 forced the postponement of CSS’ Art of Recovery from March to August in 2020 and turned the event into a virtual auction for 2020 and 2021. Thankfully, things changed this year, and Art of Recovery returned March 22 as an in-person event. And what a night it was.

The event drew more than 200 guests for a night of inspiration, artistic expression, and education at the Akron Art Museum – an exciting new venue for Art of Recovery.

The open spaces of the museum’s first floor lent themselves perfectly to the display of unique and inspiring artwork created by CSS’ client artists, many of whom participate in CSS’ Expressive Arts Therapy program. Many of the artists said having their work shown in the museum was “a dream come true.”

During the event, the artists shared their stories with the guests who strolled through the museum, admiring the artwork, bidding on their favorites, and enjoying hors d’oeuvres. Eight of the 20 featured artists were honored in the night’s awards presentation, which highlighted the outstanding work as judged by local artists Christine Mehen and Ted Lawson. Mehen, who also is a licensed mental health therapist, noted, “The artwork in this show is fantastic. So much raw talent.”

Taking home the top awards were:

  • LaHaynes, who won Best in Show for “Inward and Onward,” a radiant oil painting of “an individual who has the ability to look into themselves, find their inner light and strength, and share it with the world.”
  • Stephanie Ijoma, who earned second place with “Self #2,” a vibrant self-portrait in charcoal and color pastel.
  • Simon Roman, who took third place with “Unity,” a multi-faceted colored pencil drawing that displays “how I’ve always pictured the characters of myself like an internal council.”

Honorable mentions were awarded for “Who I’m Supposed to Be,” a two-piece mixed media work by Kerri Symes; “Colorful Cats,” a printmaking piece by Carol S.; and “Love is a Beautiful Bird,” a creation of alcohol ink on ceramic tile by Heather Brazil.

The Judge’s Pick Award from Christine Mehen was presented to Melody Strull for the acrylic painting “Overwhelmed,” and the Judge’s Pick Award from Ted Lawson went to Maryam Khalid for “Truth,” a pencil drawing.

The artists also were honored by the many guests who purchased their artwork. By the auction’s end, 43 of the 57 pieces had sold. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds from the art sales went directly to the artists, and the remaining 25% was reinvested into the Expressive Arts Therapy program at CSS.

We congratulate all of our participating artists and thank them for sharing their art and their stories of resilience and recovery.

We’d also like to thank the sponsors who helped make the event such a success: Master Artist-level sponsors, Peg’s Foundation, SeibertKeck Insurance Partners, Tober Building Co., and The Charles and Salome Reymann Foundation; Master Apprentice-level sponsors, Klein’s Pharmacy, PNC, Huntington Bank, and Wealth Impact Advisors; Apprentice-level sponsors, TRIAD Communications, Smith Godios Sorensen, The County of Summit ADM Board, the Vuillemin family, and Cleveland Clinic Akron General: Patron of the Arts sponsors, Bober Markey Fedorovich, Sikich, Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, and Judge Elinor Marsh Stormer and the Summit County Probate Court; and the Non-profit Supporters of the Arts, NAMI Summit County, Portage Path Behavioral Health, and Goodwill Industries of Akron.