Thursday, September 8, 2022

Rockville "Goes Purple" for opioid addiction awareness: "Protect Them" art installation opens tonight

"Protect Them," a mobile shipping container art installation, has arrived at Rockville Town Square. It will open to the public tonight, September 8, 2022, from 5:00 - 9:00 PM. The exhibit will also be open from 2:00 - 5:00 PM on September 9, 10, 16 and 17, and on the evening of September 22 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.

Bethesda artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg created the exhibit after her research into patterns of drug addiction revealed that a lack of mental health support, childhood trauma and heightened environmental sensitivity were often consistent factors. The installation is constructed from the many items parents use to protect their children, such as child safety seats, bike helmets, or water wings, and questions what parents and our society are doing to keep children "psychologically safe?"

The installation is one of many events in the city this month, as "Rockville Goes Purple." The campaign is designed to raise awareness of opioid addiction, and will officially begin today at 4:30 PM with a speech by Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton at Rockville Town Square, followed by remarks by Firstenberg and Judge Karla Smith. VisArts will host a "Behind the Mask" art project on the town square stage afterward from 5:00 to 8:50 PM. Rockville City police responded to 35 reports of heroin or opioid overdoses in 2021, a 52% increase from 2020, and three reports of heroin or opioid possession, a 66% decrease. Look for the Empty Fix shipping container on the town square.

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