beyond addiction

Good things are generally either inspiring or inspired. But only great good things are both. Lucky us, the Beyond Addiction photo exhibition is one of those great good things.

In fact, Beyond Addiction has enough of both to classify it as pure inspiration. Then again, that's pretty much inevitable when a great good thing ends up on the side of the greater good.

And to be sure, Beyond Addiction is benefiting the greater good -- on its Rochester Institute of Technology College of Art & Design campus and beyond.

In fact, it already has. Beyond Addiction first inspired those who visited New York City's Aronson Galleries back in April of 2019. It'll now do likewise at RIT's City Art Space through February 21, 2021. We got tipped to the exhibition via Connections with Evan Dawson, an on-air podcast backed by the good folks at Rochester's NPR affiliate WXXI. We also learned there's a coincident workshop called Storytelling About Addiction and Recovery. And that the class will include dialogue between students and people on all sides of the addiction recovery field. So it appears RIT's taking a many-angled approach to addressing the ever-pressing issue.

Like we said, greater good.

Beyond Addiction: Reframing Recovery

The exhibition's full title is indeed Beyond Addiction: Reframing Recovery. It was curated by Graham MacIndoe and Susan Stellin, a husband/wife team from New York City's higher realms. In fact, MacIndoe, a photographer, is a part-time associate professor at Parsons, and Stellin, a writer and researcher, is an adjunct professor at The New School.

Hailing from two of the city's most enlightened institutions certainly gives the two academic bona fides. The tag-team memoir Chancers: Addiction, Prison, Recovery, Love (Random House/Ballantine) means they've also got IRL bona fides to go with. Add the honor roll of both individual and collective accomplishments, including the Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowshipped American Exile, and you've got perhaps the two most perfect co-curators for such a socially-skewed show.

So does their own work. Seems MacIndoe and Stellin don't just have good eyes for prize pieces, but they also create prize pieces themselves. And the show includes a portrait and interview collection from a larger series chronicling life after addiction. There's also a series of portraits Josh Meltzer shot for Beth Macy's duly heralded Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America, as well as Raymond Waters' 35-millimeter frame mash-up of Traffic, Trainspotting, Requiem for a Dream, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Then there's a redemption song of a narrative by Tony Fouhse, an inside look at South Florida's sober living scene by Michael Dillow, plus MacIndoe's historical archiving of work from noted research scientist William L. White.

There's more, of course. Much more. Including new contributions from RIT students and members of the surrounding Rochester community. In other words, more than enough more to both strengthen and renew interest in this ongoing chronicle of an exhibition. But don't just take our word for it -- go to City Art Space yourself. (Yes, it's open!) You most decidedly shan't be disappointed.

In fact, you'll be inspired by all the inspiring works on offer. Why? Well, it's like we said. Beyond Addiction is pure inspiration.

Applause Please

Recovery Boot Camp applauds and congratulates Graham MacIndoe, Susan Stellin and all the other contributors to Beyond Addiction. We also applaud RIT, its College of Art and Design, as well as its City Art Space. If too few creators so astutely gather for such vital causes, it's largely because too few schools and institutions are willing to fully back their play. RIT's backing shows what's possible when organizations step up. And its showing is a blessing to and for everyone. We'd also like to congratulate everyone recognized by Beyond Addiction, and thank them all for their courage. May they continue to live fully and fulfillingly well beyond addiction. Remember, if you need help, please seek help. It's out there.

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