Artist helps convey hope and recovery at Nazareth

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 25, 2018

Nazareth Child & Family Connection

SALISBURY — When graffiti artist Shane Pierce was asked to help with a mural at Nazareth Child & Family Connection’s outpatient facility in Salisbury, he never thought twice.

He has a great understanding of recovery, and when he can use his art to help on the road to recovery, he’s all in.

The result is a 24-by-8-foot mural on a rear wall at the Mahaley Avenue facility that Pierce hopes will help ease the fears of those taking the first step to recovery.

“What I wanted to capture with this piece was the person showing up for the first time and being scared, being lonely, not sure if they wanted to give this a try or not,” said Pierce. “Trying to welcome them is what I wanted to capture — this place, this here is the road to recovery.

“That’s why I did the woman, the one who can’t decide if she wants to go in or not and her friend helping, her friend trying to help her out, to get a ride to recovery. Recovery is based on one person helping another.”

Art plays a large part in the substance abuse groups at Nazareth Child & Family Connection. Clients actually advocated for the mural.

“My substance use groups began wanting more art projects to help through their trauma and past issues,” said Charla Williams, substance abuse intensive outpatient program manager for Nazareth. “We began the recovery garden and painting rocks and pictures. One client in particular said she knew (Pierce) and thought he would do the mural for us because he believes in recovery.”

Pierce believes in recovery because he is living proof that it works. The Cleveland native, who now lives in Charlotte, has been sober for a dozen years.

“The passion for this comes from being an alcoholic and addict and having my struggles with trying to get sober,” said Pierce, who is in the air-duct cleaning business but also has an art business, Abstract Dissent.

The mural was created in graffiti style with Pierce using a special type of canned spray paint.

“I think I had a total of maybe seven hours in doing it,” said Pierce. “It was all done with graffiti spray paint, out of a can. It’s an art form.

“I’ve done … I don’t even know how many, but dozens of pieces of public art pieces. This is the first one that is recovery-based, though.”

Pierce’s mural will be a reminder to Nazareth clients every day that there is hope.

“When folks arrive for their appointments and when they leave, they will see the painting and know there is hope and there are those that care,” said Vernon Walters, president and CEO of Nazareth Child & Family Connection. “We are so thankful that Shane shared his time, energy and passion to help others with this mural.”