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Mural honoring addiction recovery nears installation in Wausau

Published: Jul. 26, 2020 at 4:21 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - A new mural for downtown Wausau is finally complete and ready to be installed. The art is by Central Wisconsin Rise Up, brought to life by the community during public “paint days.”

The new art will soon sit permanently at the Frontier building in Wausau. It’s meant to inspire those in addiction recovery, something one of its artists says is more important than ever, as COVID-19 increases isolation for addicts.

"I think it can be really isolating when there's that uncertainty in the community," said Stefanie Sladky, a lead artist for the Frontier mural project.

Rise Up hosted community paint days to make the mural's design come to life.

"It belongs to the community, and it was created by the community," she said.

Now the project will serve as a visible reminder that light is on the other side of addiction. It’s the work of a 3-year partnership with Lakeside Recovery, which helps people in their journey out of addiction.

“We wanted to work with this group in particular, because there’s such a large stigma around addiction, and a lot of misunderstanding. And I think it can be really difficult for those who are struggling though addiction to really feel like their voice is heard,” she said.

The mural is called "Now I see in color."

“‘Now I see in color’ means now I’m able to live my life fully, without being under the influence of a substance,” she said. “There is hope out there, they can find so much more meaning when they’re able to find that recovery. And that they’re not alone.”

The message of hope is meant for anyone touched by addiction.

"I think this message is specifically for those in addiction recovery, but it's also for family members that have been through this too, that they may see within their loved ones, this flourishing and this healing process," Sladky said.

The mural’s dedication is now expected to happen in September, a month honoring addiction recovery.

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