Mid-Shore Arts: Using the Arts to Fight Human Trafficking

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To bring the issue of human trafficking a little bit closer to home, the State of Maryland is the tenth highest in the country in the number who fall victim to this 21st-century form of human slavery.

In the latest data from 2014, Maryland documented almost 400 cases of trafficking survivors that year, including 128 children, that were enslaved as sex workers.

It is this kind of statistic or other little-known facts like the 10,000 trafficked girls and women that were recently imported for the last Super Bowl game, or that trafficking is a $32 billion business, that brings out an almost instantaneous response to take personal action against this horror.

That’s what happened to Kay Chernush, the Washington D.C. based award-winning photographer, who found herself on assignment for the U.S. State Department to document the victims some years ago and felt compelled to find some way to keep the story of their plight alive. Her solution was to create a traveling art exhibition entitled Artworks for Freedom.

And that’s what happened to eight Mid-Shore artists (Maureen S. Farrell, Carol Gordean, Heather Harvey, Theresa McFadden, Carol Minnarick, Mary Ann Schindler, Sue Stockman, and Amare Selfu Worku) who agreed to join Chernush by contributing their work to Artworks for Freedom/Easton, a forerunner event for a much larger celebration ending in Washington, D.C. later this year.

The multimedia exhibit that will be using their work, alongside national artists, to inform, educate and transform public perceptions about the rapidly growing crime of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

The Spy sat down with Mary Ann Schindler (co-chair along with Carol Gordean) and Sue Stockman, two of the artists whose work will be shown at the Waterfowl Building starting next Friday, to talk about this human tragedy and how art can be powerfully used to convey a message more powerfully than any other medium.

The exhibit will run from September 8 through October 1, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (closed Mondays) in the Waterfowl Building in Easton, which will serve as headquarters for the event. For more information please go here

About Dave Wheelan

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