Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, the nearly 20-year-old nonprofit that helps connect sex workers with much-needed medical and social resources in D.C., is making its foray into the art world. “Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C.,” opening tonight, assembles pieces of art—mainly illustrations, paintings, and photographs—inspired and made by sex workers and drug users from the D.C. area and beyond. Sure, the exhibit’s name kind of glamorizes addiction and the sex trade, but it could be interpreted as part of HIPS’ blessedly nonjudgmental “harm-reduction” model, which aims to help people engaged in risky practices, regardless of whether those practices are illegal. The show, whose reception is also a fundraiser for the organization, is unveiled as part of the International AIDS Conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center July 22–27. During the week’s special events, this exhibit is one of the best ways to show your support to an organization that’s doing invaluable work on a local level—work that does not diminish in importance even as D.C.’s prostitution centers relocate farther from gentrification’s porous borders.
The opening reception for “Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll D.C.” takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Iron Horse Taproom, 507 7th St. NW. $20 donation requested. Exhibit on view through July 27. sexdrugsrocknrolldc.com.