St. Cloud artist Stacey O’Connell died unexpectedly Monday, August 14, 2017. Stacey, 33, had been one of two lead artists (with Sheri Pfau) for 2013 Minnesota Disability Mural workshops held in St. Cloud. She helped artists create nearly 350 1’x1′ panels for the mural. She worked in downtown St. Cloud and helped facilitate (with Sheri) the We-R-Artists group meetings and exhibits at the Paramount Theatre and elsewhere.
The full obituary can be found at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sctimes/obituary.aspx?n=stacey-oconnell&pid=186400715&fhid=12813.
Stacey wrote this in 2012 about Why art matters to me as a person with a disability:
“Unfortunately, times and stereotypes are still evolving for people with disabilities and always will be evolving. Due to these stereotypes it makes visibility and awareness for people with disabilities crucial to our community to make a positive impact. Art is a form of communication that is never right or wrong and is limitless as a form of communication. Art is so open to so many types and forms that everyone is able to do art regardless of physical, mental, emotional, etc. disability which makes art such a beautiful thing. Art gives opportunities to all people to excel in life. It is so important for our community to see a successful person with disabilities. It is vital for all people to express their emotions. Most importantly for a person with or without a disability to express how they feel and not bottle emotions inside. Art personally for me is my life. There is one thing that is always there for me when I am wound up in this world’s drama… Art. It is the healthiest decision I have made in my life, and as long as I am able to lose myself within my visual art I will survive. It gives a person something to be proud of, passionate about and becomes a motive to live to many individuals with disabilities. My disability makes me who I am and is not viewed as a negative thing in my life. And I think it is so important to show that to others in our community and the world through my artwork.”