William Stoehr: Stigma and Survival

August 27 – October 31, 2021

Large scale portraits painted in acrylic inspired by opiate addiction and recovery.

Generously sponsored by

There is this voice in the back of my head always whispering….What good is your art? What does it accomplish? Does it matter?

I started to broadly explore victims of violence, bigotry and addiction. Viewers interpreted my work within their own subjective context related to their own experiences – which is what I wanted. But again the voice returned and asked, “How can you honestly relate to these issues?” Well, I can relate to addiction. Not as a victim but as a witness, and I know about stigma.

Stigma suffocates discussion, impedes action, causes pain.

My sister OD’d but, maybe to the millions affected, I could be part of a solution. Stigma was the place to start.

With alcohol and drug abuse, it’s never just one person that is impacted. And so the faces I now paint are the faces of all those affected – the victims, witnesses and survivors.

-William Stoehr