Art Reducing Stigma

About the Project

De-stigmatizing happens through humanizing.

People from all walks of life have sat with URMC Artist-in-Residence Charmaine Wheatley, and together, they have created moments of connection and trust, recorded in watercolors and in words.

Indeed, many of Wheatley’s sitters have said that they felt seen and heard in a way that they had never experienced before. Maxine Carey, for example, said simply: “She heard me.”

Being seen and heard affirms our existence; helps us know that we are not alone and that we matter.

Collectively, these portraits remind us of our common humanity.

Info board on a wall with framed portraits

HIV: Does it even matter?

Out Alliance, Gallery Q — Previously exhibited were 30 original framed watercolor portraits focusing on local Rochester community members whose lives have been impacted by...

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The Beauty Inside

University of Rochester — Installation at UR's Department of Psychiatry showcasing a selection of Mental Health portraits from Charmaine’s work...

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Charmaine's hands holding a tin of watercolor portraits

Book in Progress!

We are in the process of producing an artist bookwork collection of Charmaine's portraits, ranging from the Mental Health section...

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Charmaine Wheatley

About the Artist

Charmaine Wheatley is a performance artist who records by watercolor drawing, typically housing works in pocket-sized tin boxes. Since graduating from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Wheatley has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts; Arts Nova Scotia; and Arts Newfoundland Labrador. In 2012 Charmaine became an artist in residence for life at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, where she has had 2 long term exhibitions. Recent related portrait work includes two SU-CASA artist residencies with senior centers in 2016 through the Brooklyn Arts Council. Wheatley is the artist in residence at the University of Rochester in New York since January 2017. Half the time working intimately with the mental health community creating portraits from life and the other half sitting with members of the HIV community in both Rochester and Buffalo.

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