October 22nd, 2016

Recovering addicts to showcase their art

Updated: 3:05 pm, May 07, 2015

A RECOVERING drug and alcohol addict who turned his life around is hoping to help others do the same.

Ten years ago, Leamington resident Mick Smith had a dream to set up an art workshop in his home town.

In the throes of conquering his addictions however, he opted to move to Cornwall where he completed a degree in contemporary craft.

And after returning home, he struggled to find funding or support for his idea.

But a chance conversation with his key worker at The Recovery Partnership – a group which provides support for those with drug or alcohol problems – finally got the project off the ground.

Now having teamed up with ESH Works – a non-profit organisation who work in conjunction with The Recovery Partnership – the 50-year-old ‘Recovery Champion’ volunteers as an art teacher offering workshops to other recovering addicts every Tuesday.

And following a successful six months, the group is preparing to showcase their work for the first time on August 5.

The exhibition – featuring around 30 paintings – is set to take place from 5pm to 8pm in ESH’s base at 9A Althorpe Street.

Speaking about the impact of the art classes, Mick said: “I’ve been passionate about drawing and painting ever since I was a small child but as a recovering addict I also know how therapeutic it can be.

“Taking part in the workshop gives you something to look forward to but it’s also helpful on a number of different levels because as you improve, you get more confidence, which then in turn allows you to make more progress and that is exciting.”

And Mick is hoping the exhibition will not only give the group more exposure but also allow it to expand further.

He added: “Maybe a few galleries might be interested in giving us a piece of wall and we can take it from there but the sky’s the limit as far as I’m concerned.

“The more recognition we get, the more we can grow and the more people we can start help to transform their lives.

“A lot of addicts are creative people but they can’t get an outlet for it. Even if it doesn’t come to anything personally, each step they take is a good one.

“Sometimes as an addict it’s hard to see anything positive but I want them to realise that there is more to life.”

Recovery Partnership project worker Lorraine Warren helped Mick get the art classes off the ground. 30.014.019.leam.jm4

Nick Short enjoys his first ever taste of the art class. 30.014.019.leam.jm1