Artwork tells the story of recovery, one puzzle piece at a time

UNE student Glenn Simpson is working to earn a master’s degree in social work. A unique art project he is creating as part of his coursework is gaining attention.

“Pieces of Recovery: The Puzzle Project” is a collection of stories of recovery, each created by an individual in recovery. Simpson’s goal is to create 418 puzzle pieces representing the number of fatal drug poisonings, traditionally referred to as drug overdoses, in Maine in 2017. The Forecaster and Maine Beacon recently published stories about Simpson and his work.

Simpson is creating the project as part of UNE’s Applied Arts and Social Justice Certificate, a one-of-a-kind program in the School of Social Work that gives students the opportunity to use art and creativity as they work toward their graduate degree.

Simpson began the project hoping to create 57 pieces to mark the number of overdose deaths in Portland in 2017. With grants and encouragement from UNE, he expanded the project.

Simpson, who has been in recovery for 19 years, visited detox, treatment and recovery centers to research his project. He recently unveiled the puzzle at the Southern Maine Harm Reduction Conference held at UNE. The project will be put on display again at UNE in May.

Simpson hopes to take his exhibit to several locations, including the Maine State House, community recovery centers and high schools.

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