Along with artists David Marquardt and Douglas Johnson, I painted portraits to support a drop-in center for female sex workers (FSWs) in southwest Baltimore. FSWs experience a unique set of vulnerabilities such as stigma and unsafe work environments that inhibit seeking and access to legal, social, and health services. SPARC (Sex workers Promoting Action, Risk reduction, and Community mobilization) provides a safe place for these women to access the support services they need.
Eight women who attend SPARC Center have agreed to share their experiences with the outside world. We used these stories to paint three very different interpretations of the women. Through these oral testimonies and portraits, we aimed to let Baltimore see who SPARC serves, and why these women matter. We want to show each of these women as unique individual, beyond any label that has been placed on them.
The above description of the project was written by David Marquardt.