This past Friday Frontline Foundations hosted an event which is part of an organization called Faceless Epidemic. This is what they posted:
Thank you Faceless Epidemic and Tasia for the opportunity to play a part in this powerful project’s message of hope and awareness in our communities! We’ve been moved and humbled by these portraits and by the beautiful people and families behind each and every one of them. NWIndiana Times also reported on it saying:
LAPORTE — These faces brought to life in artwork are not what heroin addicts are often assumed to be.
They also illustrate those who died from using heroin are not merely a statistic, but they were human with a wide variety of emotions and loved ones just like everyone else.
“Their lives mattered,” said Debbie Spurling, director of development for Frontline Foundations, which operates faith based outpatient substance abuse treatment centers in LaPorte and Chesterton.
“You can just see the people through the eyes and the smiles. It is very impactful,” Spurling said.
A moving gallery called Faceless Epidemic was unveiled Friday and plans are to take it to other places to raise awareness.
Presently, the gallery of nine portraits of deceased heroin users is at the LaPorte clinic, which opened last year at 605 Michigan Ave.
All of the images were painted or sketched and the people depicted, including a brother and sister together in one portrait, were from LaPorte and Porter counties.
Listed above each portrait is the first name of the person and the years they were born and died.
Jodi Lawrence showed up to view the portrait of her daughter, Lynsey, whose image was captured from a picture of her on the beach during a family vacation in Florida a year or two prior to her death in 2012.
Lynsey, who grew up in Westville, was taking college level courses at 16 and studying architecture and interior design at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis when a heroin addict enticed her to try it, said Lawrence.
A year later, she was dead at 25.
‘’It was the guy that she met that she trusted who talked her into it and that happens so often to so many people,’’ Lawrence said.
The gallery on Aug. 5 will move to 7th and Franklin streets in Michigan City for the monthly First Friday event showcasing the revitalized Uptown Arts Districts.
It’s scheduled to be at LaPorte City Hall during the week of Aug. 8 and Bethany Lutheran Church in LaPorte on the week of Sep. 11.
Other similar venues are being sought to showcase the gallery through the rest of the summer and fall.
Faceless Epidemic is the brainchild of Tasia Stockstill, a LaPorte native moved by a story on the radio about a woman who dealt with the grief of losing her daughter to heroin by drawing a portrait of her then later others who lost their lives to the drug.
Stockstill contacted her professional artist friends whose stunning creations were based off the pictures of victims presented by their families.
The frames were custom made by clients at the clinic as part of their therapy.
Surprisingly, perhaps, Stockstill has never known anyone using heroin but simply acted upon the emotions in her heart for the pain she can only imagine experiencing.
“So many people are doing things to bring awareness to the community. I thought this would just be another way to do it and show who these people that we’re losing,” said Stockstill.
Frontline Foundations started in 2007 at Valparaiso.
Since expanding to LaPorte in May of 2015, that clinic has seen about 70 clients, said Alan Grecula, director of clinical services for the treatment center.
Grecula said things have gone well but people knowing the center is there and that it’s more than just a methadone clinic has been a challenge.
“We have room to grow. We know there’s a need for it,” he said.
Heroine is deadly epidemic and the Church of LaPorte County is trying hard to partner and address the issue head on. Share your story when you get a chance.