Artists display works, raise awareness of addiction struggle at Greensburg fest
Cassidy Roach, 22, of Greensburg was thankful to sell nearly all the six paintings she brought to display at the Greensburg Music Fest on Friday evening.
She’s even more thankful to be closing in this month on her one-year anniversary of being clean from use of heroin and other controlled substances.
Roach was one of a half-dozen artists, most who are recovering from substance abuse, who were represented in the festival’s Art for Recovery and Transformation program at St. Clair Park.
“It’s really been a big outlet for me,” Roach said of her abstract nature paintings. “It allows me to express myself and keeps me busy in my free time. I try to tell a story about the struggles that I’ve been through and where I’m at now.”
Friday’s art presentation was organized by Toni Antonucci, a therapist who works with outpatient drug and alcohol clients through Strive Health of Greensburg. She’s continuing an art program that was initiated by her late son, Demetre Josebeck, who she said died of an accidental overdose in July 2018.
Antonucci asked festival visitors to dip their thumbs in different colors of paint to place their thumbprints on portraits of her son and of the late Sage Capozzi. Capozzi also succumbed to substance use and was the inspiration for Sage’s Army, a drug awareness and prevention organization created by his father, Carmen Capozzi.
“We’re taking people’s thumbprints and painting the faces of addiction,” Antonucci said, “because your thumbprint is your identity, and that’s how we’re saying to end the stigma around addiction. It does affect everyone.”
Roach also expressed hope that Friday’s display would “raise some awareness for the struggle of addiction. People tend to forget that that person struggling with addiction is someone’s brother, sister, daughter or son.”
Antonucci hopes to realize another of her son’s ideas — establishing a sober bar in Greensburg, so people who are in recovery have options for socializing that work for them.
Pittsburgh-based Empath Sober Bar and Social Events, which organizes pop-up sober bars, provided one at the festival, offering non-alcoholic mixed drinks.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .