Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

July 29, 2010

Kenmille paints a not-so-pretty picture about meth

By Lailani Upham

Montana Meth Project artwork created by Barbara Kenmille is located at Main Street in Polson on the CSKT Natural Resources Building. (Lailani Upham photo)
Montana Meth Project artwork created by Barbara Kenmille is located at Main Street in Polson on the CSKT Natural Resources Building. (Lailani Upham photo)

POLSON Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive drug that leaves individuals, families and communities with devastating effects all around. The most serious and rampant problem is - death. Its use remains a serious problem, not only across the U.S., but here in Montana.

Meth causes dramatic changes in the brain and using the drug can lead to depression, paranoia, violent behavior, and other serious mental disorders. Meth also destroys the body, and can cause fatal kidney and lung problems, liver damage, and convulsions, even strokes, according to Montana Meth Project Foundation.

The Montana Meth Project was formed to reduce methamphetamine use in the state by arming people with the facts about Meth. The message "Not Even Once" speaks to how highly addictive Meth is.

The Montana Meth Project launched a campaign in 2006 called Paint the State where teens have the opportunity to take their own anti-Meth theme through their original artwork and to get the word out about methamphetamine. The contest is designed to encourage teens to use their creativity and passion in a whole new way, for a very important cause.

Eighteen year old, Barbara Kenmille of Pablo jumped on the opportunity creating an art mural on the Tribal Natural Resource building on the main street of Polson. She drew inspiration for her piece from the loss of her uncle because of an addiction to meth a year ago.

Kenmille's work is done with acrylic paint, pencil, dry erase markers, duct tape and tinfoil. The skeleton, she says, represents what a person becomes after using. The shadow shows the shame and remorse of what he/she has become. There are posters in the background with symbols of what the person could have become, describes Kenmille.

Kenmille, who also works a summer job, said it took her approximately 30 hours within a three-day frame to finish the art piece. The first day she spent obtaining the permission permit and materials to do the artwork. The following days were spent hours on a ladder creating her work of art message.

Paint the State is a public art competition and large-scale community action program aimed at communicating the risks of Meth use through public works of art. The contest offers teens a way to get involved and compete for $3,000 in cash awards in each of Montana's 56 counties, plus a statewide grand prize of $5,000.

Teens are asked to use the "Meth: Not Even Once" logo, tagline, or other anti-meth theme, a little inspiration, and a lot of imagination to create a work of art-any style, any medium-that's clearly visible by the general public.

The contest is open to individuals or teams aged 13 - 18 years of age. The registration deadline was July 7 with final entries submitted by July 18. Winners will be announced in Helena on August 20.

Fifteen works of art are displayed throughout Lake County.

A gallery of artwork across the state per county can be viewed at

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