New York, NY – Mountainside treatment center announces today, their newly opened Chelsea location will display for the first time in New York City an art installation of nationally recognized, art-activist Domenic Esposito’s signature 800-pound opioid spoon sculptures. There will be an opening night event on November 6, 2019, 6pm-8 pm, which will be open to the public. Esposito’s FDA spoon will be on display through November 22.
Boston-based Esposito has gained national attention for the 10-foot, metal opioid spoon sculptures he places at the doorsteps of those he deems responsible for the opioid crisis, such as Purdue Pharma, Rhodes Pharma, Health and Human Services (FDA) and Johnson and Johnson, to highlight their roles in producing and manufacturing opioids, and therefore fueling the nation’s epidemic.
The installation will be unveiled at Mountainside Chelsea, a new recovery resource center, and will showcase Esposito’s FDA spoon, which he placed at the doorstep of the HHS in Washington DC to protest its role in failed regulations surrounding opioid production. On the opening night, the Honor Tour spoon will also be on view. Unlike his protest spoons that have the organization’s moniker engraved on the handle, the Honor Tour spoon was a blank canvas spoon he toured along the East Coast this summer and allowed those who have lost loved ones to the epidemic to sign messages in their honor.
“Like all powerful works of art, the Opioid Spoon evokes a strong reaction in people, which drives conversation and action. When people connect and fight for change, this helps to dispel myths about addiction and removes the stigma many in recovery face,” Mountainside’s Director of Community Development Daniel Smith says. “We are proud to be able to display this sculpture and share its message with our neighbors in New York City, which, like other places across the country, has been hit hard by the opioid crisis.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every seven hours, someone in New York City dies of a drug overdose and opioids are involved in more than 80 percent of these deaths. More New Yorkers die of drug overdoses than homicides, suicides, and motor vehicle crashes combined.
The opening night event will include a Tales from the Trenches talk with Esposito and Smith about how art can create awareness, spark action and, as a result, help curb the opioid crisis. Additionally, Esposito’s non-profit organization The Opioid Spoon Project’s (OSP) mini-documentary highlighting his spoon drops will be shown. The OSP documentary was featured in the Reel Recovery Film Festival in Los Angeles, and will be shown at the film festival’s NYC screening on November 5, 2019.
Esposito’s signature opioid spoon sculpture has become a symbol of the opioid crisis in the US, depicting its dark reality. In addition to the opioid spoon sculpture being placed on the doorsteps of corporations and individuals, Esposito’s Opioid Spoon sculptures have been on display at universities, art galleries, and city centers and appeared in major art festivals. The collaboration with Mountainside is the first installation with an addiction treatment center.
“I am so honored Mountainside Chelsea selected my Opioid Spoon sculpture for its inaugural art exhibition. It is humbling to be part of such an incredible organization that has dedicated so much to help so many,” Esposito says. “Our goal is to generate awareness about the intersection of art, activism and recovery; and the reality of the opioid crisis in the US.”
At the core of Mountainside Chelsea’s mission are three guiding principles: connection, education, and wellness and fun. The center is an oasis for people in recovery to connect to treatment and care, and also to each other through fun, sober events and wellness classes. A strong support network is crucial in helping people in recovery reman sober.
Esposito has first-hand experience with the impact of opioid use on families. His younger brother has been struggling with addiction for more than 12 years. He said a lack of education about addiction, recovery and relapse makes it difficult for people to understand what the families of addicted individuals are experiencing. The Opioid Spoon sculptures exemplify the hopelessness his family felt when they found burnt spoons, evidence of his brother’s addiction, hidden around the house.
“You learn a lot about the disease when someone you love is struggling with addiction,” Esposito says. “Events like the one at Mountainside Chelsea bring others into the discussion and help erase stigma. It is important for us to reach out and educate others in the community.”
“The reality is that everyone is touched in some way by addiction,” Smith says. “Addiction impacts families, marriages, friendships and the workplace. The Opioid Spoon installation fosters open communication, which in turn reduces the shame people struggling with addiction as well as people in recovery often feel and encourages them to seek the critical support they need.”
To learn more about Mountainside Chelsea, please visit https://mountainside.com/locations/nyc-chelsea. To learn more about Domenic Esposito and The Opioid Spoon Project, please visit www.theopioidspoonproject.com