Art show at Joplin library highlights eating disorders

·2 min read

Jun. 2—A free art show will highlight the talent and lived experiences of local individuals who have struggled with body image issues or eating disorders.

Ozark Center Innovative Solutions presents "Reflections of Hunger: Disordered Eating and Body Image Through Their Eyes" from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. today at the Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St.

"Art brings awareness, and that is sorely needed for those struggling with all forms of disordered eating and body image concerns," said Jenny Copeland, licensed psychologist and director of Reconnect Eating Disorders Clinic at Ozark Center Hope Spring. "This art show is an invitation to step into their world without having to grasp the logic of it. This is an invitation to feel and understand, as I hope we all come to know that eating disorders are far more widespread than we often realize."

Eating disorders significantly increased in both number and severity during the pandemic, Ozark Center officials said. Suffering from an eating disorder is a lonely existence and one dominated by difficult thoughts, emotions and actions that come along with it.

"Everyone knows someone with an eating disorder, and this art show will hopefully give our community a glimpse of what it is like," Copeland said. "We hope to build upon the compassion that Joplin is known for and support these folks throughout our community. People can help by donating to local food banks, because oftentimes those with eating disorders don't have enough food for recovery. They can also help by being a positive role model and celebrating bodies of all sizes and shapes."

The event includes a body positive photo booth, graffiti mirror wall and light hors d'oeuvres. The Reconnect team will be available to answer questions and offer tours. Cards will be available identifying ways the community can support those with eating disorders.