October 25, 2016

The Art of Transformation is a select body of work that represents three years of art created by Organization for Prostitution Survivors participants. The exhibits features a range of visual works and poetic testimonies, reflecting the strength, individuality and collective force of women at OPS.

The art was created in workshops that began in February 2013 and have continued every Saturday on a drop-in basis since that time. It is one of the organization's core survivor services. The overall structure of the workshop is consistent from week to week, providing a positive enriching experience that the women come to know and trust. The first hour is a social time and a home cooked lunch, followed by circling up to read poems and learn about the art project, which changes from week to week. Guest artists are frequently invited to share their expertise. The rest of the afternoon is spent creating art.

The Art of Transformation exhibit is open to the public from Oct. 24 to Dec. 30, 2016 at the UW School of Social Work first floor Gallery — Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m.– 6 p.m. 

A reception is scheduled for Wed., Nov. 2, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Please join us.

Because of the complex and chronic nature of the trauma most of the service center's women have endured, the workshop is structured to help the women explore their newly discovered artistic self, providing a potentially healing and transformative experience. The survivors discover the freedom to fully describe what was often “inexpressible” in the past. The artist is also seen, heard and validated by her peers and by her community.

Over time the participants invest more deeply in the artistic process. As new women come in, those who have been around for a while welcome them and model the values of their community. This is their space. One afternoon during a closing circle, one of the artists expressed her art-making experience in these words: “I am not just looking to cope anymore; I’m looking to transform.”

About the Organization for Prostitution Survivors: OPS is a grassroots, nonprofit organization founded in 2012 by survivors of prostitution and allies to end the violence of prostitution and change the cultural norms supporting it. OPS operates within three focus areas: survivor services, community education and men’s accountability—with all aspects centered on the voices and leadership of survivors. Learn more about this innovative organization.