For Worcester Preparatory School (WPS) junior, Izzy Huber, participation in a local art exhibit focused on those battling the stigma of addiction inspired her to create a program to help others.

In November, WPS hosted representatives from the Art League of Ocean City and “Stigma Highlighted: Portraits of Recovery.” an art exhibit addressing negativity towards individuals battling addiction. The “Stigma Highlighted: Portraits of Recovery” project was designed to use artwork and personal stories to challenge misconceptions and negativity toward individuals battling addiction. The program is sponsored by the Giving Spirit Foundation, Worcester County Health Department, Worcester Goes Purple, Talbot Goes Purple and the ALOC.

Izzy Huber, Berlin, stands in front of her artwork of Brandon O’Brien exhibited during “Stigma Highlighted: Portraits of Recovery”, where it all started.

Local artists, including Izzy, created portraits influenced by the stories of 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 about how it personally affected them.

At that time, Izzy met with Brandon O’Brien, owner of Douglas K. Hamilton House for Recovery.

“His story inspired me in many ways, but one of the most striking things was his determination and ability to face his fears,” Izzy said. “Since beginning his journey away from addiction, Brandon has flourished. It was a great honor meeting him, and seeing how his hard work paid off. I was able to visit his very own recovery house, which he opened to serve his community, in the same way he was given help when he needed it most.”

Once learning that art has a therapeutic effect on those who are healing, Izzy reached out to Worcester Goes Purple President Debbie Smullen, in hopes of developing a new program where recovering addicts could create powerful art themselves. 

Laura Jenkins, of The Joan Jenkins Foundation, quickly jumped on board to help support and promote the new project, “The Art of Recovery.”

The Art of Recovery will be a statewide project. Worcester Goes Purple will collect projects created by those in recovery from all Maryland counties and Baltimore City to be displayed in an exhibition held in September (Recovery Month). A public auction will be held, and all proceeds will benefit the recovery community. 

“The goal of the Stigma Highlighted project was to educate the community about recovery and taking the stigma away. Izzy certainly rose to the occasion and has reached out to do more,” Smullen said.

For more information, visit or contact Debbie Smullen at or 410-870-5161.