“STIGMA HIGHLIGHTED” ART EXHIBIT ADDRESSES NEGATIVITY TOWARDS INDIVIDUALS BATTLING ADDICTION, OPENS ON OCT. 7 AT OCEAN CITY CENTER FOR THE ARTS
OCEAN CITY, MD — Sept. 30, 2022 — “As an artist, a mother, a friend, and having personally dealt with other’s addictions, I agreed [to participate in the Stigma project,] knowing it will travel, and others will hear the journey each of these strong and courageous people have traveled through to get where they are today,” portrait artist Teri Edgeworth, wrote. “If their story touches a heart and saves people from going down their path or even for starting one step in that direction, I am grateful…”
The “Stigma Highlighted: Portraits of Recovery” project is designed to use artwork and personal stories to challenge misconceptions and negativity towards individuals battling addiction. The program is sponsored by the Giving Spirit Foundation, Worcester County Health Department, Worcester Goes Purple, Talbot Goes Purple, and the Art League of Ocean City.
The Stigma exhibit is free and opens to the public on First Friday, Oct. 7, 5-8 p.m. at the Ocean City Center for the Arts, 502 94th St. bayside. The original paintings will be on exhibit in Studio E until Oct. 29. Reproductions of the paintings, along with a video and resource materials, will travel to the middle and high schools in Worcester Co. the week of Oct. 24.
Local artists, including Edgeworth, created portraits influenced by their stories of 12 survivors from Worcester, Wicomico, Talbot and Somerset counties in various stages of recovery. The artists personally met with the individuals, listened to their journeys, and interpreted them in hand-painted portraits. The artists also wrote accounts of their interactions with their subjects, writing how it personally affected them.
A team recorded each participant’s interview where they shared their personal stories. These interviews make up a 15-minute video where the individuals speak directly to young people, sharing experiences and wisdom, and the video will accompany the exhibition to the local schools. Viewers can scan QR codes next to each portrait to see each individual’s video.
In conjunction with the Stigma show, Debbie Smullen, Worcester Connects program coordinator and the face of Worcester Goes Purple, will speak about her work with people who are dealing with addictions or are in recovery. The event is free, and all are welcome at Ocean City Center for the Arts on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 6 p.m.
“The Art League of Ocean City has made it our mission to connect all the people in our community through the arts,” Katrin Huber, education director for the Art League, said. “By creating 12 strong and beautiful portraits by local artists, we want to use the power of art to shine a light on the stigma around addiction and recovery by giving it a face and the opportunity to meet these 12 individuals and hear their stories.”
A new website – www.StigmaHighlighted.com – is currently active and displays the 12 portraits and stories as well as the 15-minute video.
More information is available at ArtLeagueofOceanCity.org or by calling 410-524-9433.
The Ocean City Center for the Arts at 502 94th Street is the home of the Art League of Ocean City, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the visual arts to the community through education, exhibits, scholarship, programs and community art projects. More information is available at 410-524-9433 or ArtLeagueofOceanCity.org.