Artist paints his way toward addiction recovery

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. (WDTV)- A local artist is using the doors of the Buckhannon Fire Station to paint his way toward recovery from addiction. It might be the last full week for you to see what's painted there now before it changes.

For Ryan Zurk, art has always been a part of his life. Now it's leading the way on his path to recovery and giving him a way to contribute to his town.

"The whole thing about art for me is to make a person sort of want to feel something or be able to feel something that they wouldn't ordinarily feel if they hadn't seen what you created," he said. "And this was sort of a thing to inspire kids."

Zurk wanted to paint characters that kids across the street at the youth center would recognize. Art is a way for him to meditate and maybe the kids could find that too.

"Because there's a lot of things that words say easily, there's a lot of emotions and feelings that you don't have words for and that's what art does," he said.

It's helped him along in his recovery and also helped him find his way in life.

"A lot of times I feel like I don't fit in to society or there's not a job that I would be able to wake up every morning and say, 'This is what I want to do for the rest of my life,'" he continued. "And this has been an opportunity for me to wake up in the morning and say, 'I get to paint today!' If you had that job for the rest of your life I think it would be Christmas morning every morning."

Zurk says he's glad Buckhannon is an arts-driven community, but believes there are a lot of people who don't consider themselves artists who would benefit from making art. He hopes they'll be inspired to change their lives by artwork that's changed his.

"A lot of people could be artists and could find a lot more joy and hope for the future maybe," he said.

If you want to see these paintings in person you have to hurry. Next week and about every two months after that the slate will be wiped clean for new paintings related to the season.

See the interview above with the recovery group resource leader to learn how to help and why he's excited about Buckhannon's future in helping those in recovery.