Hooked on Art in Chesterton shows ‘there is hope’ in addiction recovery
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent September 28, 2013 11:46PM
Christina Nickel-Sommers of Valparaiso draws jellyfish in chalk Saturday in Chesterton for Frontline Foundations' Hooked on Art street art festival. | Sun-Times Media
For more information on Frontline Foundations, go to www.frontlinefoundations.com, or call 728-1638.
Updated: October 30, 2013 7:02AM
CHESTERTON — Mike Cauley was referred to Frontline Foundations a couple months ago.
He’d never done any artwork, but Saturday, his work was up for silent auction during the foundation’s Hooked on Art street art festival in downtown Chesterton.
The recovery program, with offices in Chesterton and Valparaiso, offers art to help young adults continue in their journey as they break free from addiction.
“It’s a way to express yourself in an open environment,” Cauley, 24, of Chesterton, said.
Hooked on Art started as a silent auction of clients’ work and, last year, morphed into a public art program geared toward families, said Amber Hensell-Hicks, the foundation’s founder and chief executive officer.
The foundation serves about 160 clients a year, ages 18 to 28. The average client age is 22, and they remain in the program for 12 weeks to a year, depending on their needs.
Saturday’s event included chalk art, live music, art booths and a silent auction of clients’ work, and attracted about 2,000 people.
The art program is one component of various programs Frontline offers, including individual and group therapy and relapse prevention, Hensell-Hicks said.
“You hear so much about the tragedy and loss our community has, and it is tragic, but we also have to focus on the hope, because that’s there, too,” she said, noting the value of art. “We do all of this to convey to the community that there is hope in recovery.”
While two girls drew on a white chair in black permanent marker, Annette Hansen, who put out the chair and the markers, said she engages in “guerilla art.”
“It’s sneaky art, so I create these very small pieces and leave them in public places,” the art teacher at Discover Charter School said, adding that includes leaving paper spiders in bushes and other places “all over the world.”
Hansen, who said, “Paper spiders are one of my things,” was interested in the art fair because it was free and it was a way to expose kids to art.
The Burns Harbor resident had a few ideas for where she might place the chair when the festival was over.
“Once it’s all done, I’ll leave it somewhere in town,” she said.