Skip to Content

University of Denver Partners with INTO LIGHT Project to Change Conversation Around Drug Addiction

Back to News Listing


Nika Anschuetz





Press Release  •
Internal  •

DENVER - On Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, The University of Denver’s Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP), will host the opening of the INTO LIGHT Project – Colorado.  

This dynamic art exhibition, a partnership between DU and INTO LIGHT Project, strives to put a human face on the disease of addiction. Through a striking blend of hand-drawn portraits and written stories, INTO LIGHT Project partners with local communities to educate the public and erase the stigma surrounding substance use disorders. 

For founder and artist Theresa Clower, the mission is personal. After losing her son, Devin, to a fentanyl overdose, Clower picked up a sketchbook and a pencil to work through her grief. Inspired by the portrait, Clower wanted to do it for others.  

“Rather than have our loved ones forever defined by the disease of addiction and the cause of their death, we wish to portray them in their entirety, both the light and the dark,” said Clower. 

Colorado’s exhibition will include 26 portraits, including the son of Waltrina DeFrantz-Dufor, the director of DU’s CRP.  

"As the mother of a loved one being featured in the INTO LIGHT Project, emotions, memories and hope stir within me," said DeFrantz-Dufor. “The CRP provides recovery housing, recovery coaching, recovery meetings, sober events and a sober study abroad experience that students can learn and have without being under the influence of substances. 

At Thursday’s opening reception, from 5-7 p.m. at DU’s Museum of Anthropology Gallery in Sturm Hall 102, the families who participated in this project will see their loved one’s portraits for the first time, with Clower and DeFrantz-Dufor available for interviews.  

INTO LIGHT Project – Colorado runs from Aug. 31-Nov. 17 and will embark on a journey across campus, making stops at the Anderson Academic Commons and the Community Commons. 

For more information about the exhibition and its profound impact, please click here.  

About the University of Denver: 

Founded in 1864, the University of Denver is a private university that empowers students who want to make a difference. Recognized as one of the top research universities in the country, DU has more than 300 academic programs serving about 12,000 graduate and undergraduate students. DU students benefit from an experience that channels passion to serve the public good. Visit the University's Newsroom or follow the University on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

About the INTO LIGHT Project: 

The INTO LIGHT Project is a non-profit organization that leverages the power of art and technology to address pressing global issues. Through collaborative initiatives and immersive exhibitions, the organization aims to inspire positive change and encourage individuals to contribute to a brighter future.