Peter Bruun & Dina Fiasconaro

Zo Gallery, Baltimore
September 8 – September 29, 2023


  • A therapeutic art activity will be led by Peggy Kolodny and Sharon Strouse.

  • David O. Fakunle and “Dr. Mama” Deborah Pierce-Fakunle.

  • Art therapists Sharon Strouse (left) and Peggy Kolodny (right).

From Story to Art: A Workshop

Friday, September 8, 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Space Is Limited – Registration Required

This workshop takes a deep dive into the power of story and art for healing, and offers a first peek at the Opioid Wakes exhibition. David Fakunle and Deborah Pierce-Fakunle, founders of DiscoverME/RecoverME, open with a process based on African oral tradition to help participants discover their stories, and acknowledge the significance of story in their lives. In the second half, art therapists Sharon Strouse and Peggy Kolodny guide a three-part art experience (“Create–Destroy–Transform”), encouraging discovery and opportunities for healing within the safe and contained space that art-making provides. 

Note: the event is FREE, though we invite donations on our Eventbrite registration page, with proceeds directly supporting the program and Zo Gallery expenses.

Opening Reception & Conversation

Friday, September 8, 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.
Free & Open to the Public – Gallery Conversation begins at 7:00 P.M.

Peter Bruun and Dina Fiasconaro unveil new art about substance use, loss, and grieving.

The 7 PM gallery conversation opens with a drumming invocation from David Fakunle, followed by a poem by writer Clarence Brown, then the two artists sharing about their work, songs by Shaunielle McDonald and Simoné Speed-Hamlet, and a prose piece entitled “Love Apple” by Denise Kumani Gantt reflecting on a personal grief experience. The event includes Narcan training offered by Love in the Trenches, a nonprofit providing support to parents who are suffering the collateral damage of their child’s addiction.

  • Artist Peter Bruun with singer Simone Speed-Hamlet.

  • Writer and performer Denise Kumani-Gantt.

  • Narcan training by Love in the Trenches.

  • Laura Wexler specializes in creating narrative projects across multiple mediums.

  • Laura Wexler is co-founder and co-producer of The Stoop Storytelling Series.

  • Laura Wexler will lead the personal storytelling workshop.

Fumbling Toward Transformation

Saturday, September 9, 9:00 A.M. to Noon
Space Is Limited – Registration Required

A workshop using personal storytelling to make meaning, presented in partnership with The Stoop Storytelling Series and led by Laura Wexler.

Join us as we engage with the tools of personal storytelling to grapple with life’s difficulties, interruptions, and mysteries. This workshop offers an introduction to the basic principles of personal storytelling, support for developing a story of your own, and a structured space for sharing.

Note: the event is FREE, though we invite donations on our Eventbrite registration page, with proceeds directly supporting the program and Zo Gallery expenses.

Closing Reception: We See Your Light

Friday, September 29, 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Free & Open to the Public – Program begins at 6:00 P.M.

Who are the loved ones still among us who are hurting, why are they deserving of our care, and what can we do to help?

A program rich in possibilities for change opens with an introduction to “I See Your Light,” an art and healing project by the Youth Resiliency Institute (YRI) centered on South Baltimore, a community often overlooked and underserved. This is followed by brief presentations from Andrea Brown of the Black Mental Health Alliance, Zach Kosinski of Behavioral Health System Baltimore, and Kelly Gill of Love in the Trenches, leading into a conversation on topics ranging from disparities in access to health and wellness resources, to substance use and harm reduction, and to the power of compassion in overcoming stigma. The evening closes with a song by Shaunielle McDonald dedicated to all we’ve lost to substance use and overdose, and all we hope to save.

  • Navasha Daya and Fanon Hill, co-founders of the Youth Resiliency Institute.

  • Kelly Gill, co-founded of Love in The Trenches.

  • Andrea Brown, Executive Director of the Black Mental Health Alliance.

  • Zach Kosinski, Director of Harm Reduction at Behavioral Health System Baltimore.


Andrea Brown is the Executive Director of the Black Mental Health Alliance. Previously, she served as Director of Internal affairs at the NAACP, where she oversaw affiliate chapters across the country and on military installations in Germany and Japan. She served briefly as an “Executive on Loan” for the Baltimore City Detention Center’s jail-based substance abuse treatment program, where her work \was recognized as a “best practice” model and replicated in other Maryland facilities and state penal institutions. As a community activist and advocate, Brown has volunteered her mediation services to communities across the country.

Clarence Brown is a writer and poet, and in long-term recovery from a heroin addiction that lasted 27 years. He is the author of the critically acclaimed novella “Needs,” published by Brickhouse Books in 2012. Though a work of fiction, the book reflects his own childhood, addiction, and recovery. He believes writing to be part of his redemption.

Peter Bruun is an artist, curator, and cultural organizer currently based in Maine. His method of bringing studio, curatorial, and advocacy aspects into his practice was honed in Baltimore, his home for many years. Bruun founded the New Day Campaign in early 2014 (following the death of his daughter Elisif from heroin addiction), an initiative dedicated to using arts programming and public engagement to challenge stigma associated with mental illness and substance use, making the world a more healing place.

David O. Fakunle, Ph.D., is a “mercenary for change,” employing any skill and occupying any space that helps elevate those divested from their truest selves, especially those who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color. Co-founder of DiscoverME/RecoverME, David serves as Assistant Professor at the Morgan State University School of Community Health & Policy, Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine, and Associate Faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Mental Health department. He has practiced Black storytelling, African drumming, singing and theater in the proclamation of his truth for over 20 years.

Dina Fiasconaro is a Baltimore screenwriter and director. She is a 2021 Baker Artist Award recipient, and her films have screened at multiple venues and film festivals, including the Baltimore Museum of Art. She has honed her work at MacDowell, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, Stowe Story Labs, Saul Zaentz Innovation Lab and GrrlHaus Cinema Seminar in Berlin. She is a Professor of Film and Moving Image at Stevenson University, a member of Film Fatales, and founder of the Baltimore Women’s Media Alliance.

Denise Kumani Gantt is the director of education at Lyric Baltimore. Her plays and performance pieces include: “meditations/from the ash” (winner of the Artscape Best Play Contest and voted Best New Play by The Baltimore Alternative and City Paper); “Three Stories to the Ground” (written with Gabriel Shanks, and winner of the Theatre Project Outstanding Vision in Theatre award); and “anatomy/lessons” (selected as part of Penumbra Theater’s Cornerstone Project). Her poetry collection, “conjuring the dead,” was awarded the Maryland Emerging Writers Award, and she is a MacDowell fellow.

Kelly Gill co-founded Love in The Trenches (LITT) in 2019. A non-profit organization that offers support groups, private peer counseling, and education to parents of those who suffer with substance use disorder and to individuals who have lost a child or sibling to overdose, LITT became an Overdose Response Program with the Maryland Department of Health in 2020. In 2022 Gill co-created LITT’s Undo the O.D. program with the mission of providing Narcan to every bar, restaurant and college campus in Maryland.

Peggy Kolodny, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT, is a licensed Art Psychotherapist specializing in trauma treatment, and founder of Art Therapy Collective. She is on the Board of the Maryland Art Therapy Association and is the chair of the Creative Arts Therapies Special Interest Group of the International Society on the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. Past faculties include UMB School of Social Work, Goucher College, and MICA. Recent publications include co-authoring a chapter on art therapy in EMDR and Creative Arts Therapies, and authoring two chapters on trauma, neuroscience, substance use, and art therapy in Art Therapy in the Treatment of Addictions and Trauma.

Zach Kosinski is the Director of Harm Reduction at Behavioral Health System Baltimore (BHSB), leading BHSB’s harm reduction work. He directs two teams, the Maryland Harm Reduction Training Institute and Bmore POWER. Leveraging BHSB’s role as the Baltimore City Local Behavioral Health Authority, he works to infuse harm reduction into the practices of Baltimore City behavioral health providers. Prior to joining BHSB, Kosinski led public health programs in community-based organization and local health department settings. He is a Bloomberg Fellow of Addiction and Overdose at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg American Health Initiative and a person living in long-term substance use recovery.

Shaunielle McDonald is the Director of Music Ministry at Baltimore’s Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, and Catering & Events Manager at Blacksauce Kitchen. Prior to moving to Baltimore in 2019, she served as Director of Diversity Initiatives at Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts, where she was also Director of the Gospel Choir. She was a founding member of the Boston-based acclaimed gospel ensemble. She is also a member of Testimony, a nationally known North Carolina-based ensemble under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Braxton D. Shelley.

“Dr. Mama” Deborah Pierce-Fakunle is Griot-in-Residence at The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Life Member of the National Association of Black Storytellers, and Life Member of the Griots’ Circle of Maryland. She co-founded DiscoverME/RecoverME, co-created and hosted “The Talking Drum” on Maryland Public Television, and co-created “Mama Talk” (the Afropella Griot and the Dance Griot). She is a member of WombWork Productions, contributing as a board member, costumer, mentor, performer and writer, and shares at every opportunity the African oral tradition at schools, colleges, hospitals, museums, festivals, conferences, churches and other community settings.

Simoné Speed-Hamlet is a management professional with 7+ years of experience in assisting non-profit and for-profit businesses and who also has a passion for making an impact in her native Baltimore communities and beyond. Simoné is also an advocate for healing and healing spaces as well as a creative in her own right. She has been raised and trained in the arts through many Baltimore organizations and brings her creativity, imagination, and love along with her as she steps into the many arenas Spirit opens up for her.

Sharon Strouse, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT, is a certified licensed Art Therapist, and Associate Director of the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition. Her practice, national presentations, workshops and trainings focus on traumatic loss with parents who have lost a child; suicide bereavement; and military family loss. She authored Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing twelve years after the suicide of her 17-year-old daughter, as well as many chapters and articles. She is co-founder of The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation, a non-profit that increases awareness of mental health through education and the arts.

Laura Wexler is the co-founder and co-producer of The Stoop Storytelling Series, a popular cultural event and podcast in which “ordinary” people share extraordinary true tales about their lives. An expert in personal storytelling, Wexler has presented workshops and trainings for organizations and individuals since 2006, and has coached more than 3,000 people to tell the true tales of their lives. In addition to her work with The Stoop, Wexler is an author, writer, and producer.

The Youth Resiliency Institute (YRI) is a cultural arts organization operating with Fusion Partnerships as its fiscal agent, and under the leadership of Executive Director & Co-Founder Fanon Hill and Co-Founder/Director of the Healing and Performing Arts Navasha Daya. For over a decade, YRI has been developing, researching, implementing and evaluating culturally responsive community arts, introducing emerging artists of all ages living in Baltimore’s Cherry Hill community and throughout South Baltimore to high quality culturally responsive arts education and opportunity, and serving as a vital junction box allowing for networking, connecting, collaborating, and general awareness of community assets and arts programming throughout South Baltimore.

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