DENVER (CBS4) – A new art exhibit in Denver is showing the younger side of medical marijuana.
“There were a group of parents that kind of took the country by storm. All out of love for their kids. They felt desperate because there’s not a lot of time,” said Nichole Montanez. She’s the artist behind Face of Cannabis on display at Georgia Amar’s Habitat Gallery on Santa Fe Drive south of 9th Avenue.
“This is the new face of cannabis. That’s what I’m trying to do is put a new face on a movement that has been stigmatized and stuck. I sort of wanted to put a child out there to say maybe you should take another look, this is not people trying to get high,” said Montanez.
Montanez started shooting portraits of kids who use cannabis or CBD to treat epilepsy or other disorders. The first two kids were her niece and Charlotte Figi. Over five years she photographed 283 kids. She remembers them all.
“This is the truth. These kids are the truth, that’s what we’re doing here,” she said. “There is no cure for what the kids have. What we’re talking about is a quality of life, a decrease in seizures, a chance to have a break from that,” Montanez said.
She wants her art to now reach people outside of the fight to get kids life-changing drugs. For a long time the fight was with parents advocating to politicians on behalf of their kids. Montanez now wants to reach a new audience.
Her exhibit debuted during one of Santa Fe Arts District’s First Friday events and will stay up into early February.
“People are coming in and they’re seeing this (exhibit) but they’re also seeing the kid and saying, ‘Oh you’re this kid in this picture.’ And it’s been like nothing else to have them interact with the public and to see how the public responds to them because one of the reasons I’m doing this is to make them a better world,” Montanez said.
The exhibit is scheduled for more stops this year in other states.