a black and white photo of a young Babbara Pollard from the neck up
credit: Photo courtesy of Barbara Pollard

“I was born an artist,” said Street Sense vendor and contributor, Barbara Pollard.

Pollard is fairly new to the paper. She found out about Street Sense through her close friend Michael Craig, who also writes for the paper. Pollard has never suffered from homelessness, but said she has opened her home to many relatives and friends going through it over the years.

Craig used the words “gentle, loving and respectful” to describe her.

Pollard illustrates his short stories, mostly allegories involving animal characters. She is passionate for all things art. She not only draws; she also writes, sings and makes and designs clothes.

“I have my own line of fashion, I design evening wear, casual and sports,” Pollard said. She creates all of her pieces from scratch. “When I was a little 12-year-old girl, I took home economics and it inspired me to be a designer,” she said.

Barbara Pollard posses in a dress that she designed

Pollard sports a dress that she made | Photo by Ashley Clarke  

Many of the garments she wears, she designed and made herself.

Around the same time that Pollard started exploring fashion, she began to sing.

“I do gospel and I have Rhythm and Blues songs too,” said Pollard, who recorded a gospel album two years ago.

Her musical talent has allowed her to perform at many places in and around the District, mostly in churches and at talent shows. She has also performed at the State Department where she worked for nearly 45 years as an administrative assistant.

Pollard retired in January. She said she is enjoying her retirement and taking this time to focus on her art.

“I said, I’m going to retire and get this music and fashion on the road,” Pollard said. “It’s been past time, but I thank God that I am still alive to be able to do this.”

Barbara Pollard sining with a microphone wearing a red dress

Pollard performing at a local fashion show. | Photo courtesy of Barbara Pollard

Pollard’s faith in God is what inspires her to keep working and making her art that she hopes serves as an inspiration to others.

She sells the paper to promote her work and support Street Sense. Pollard also said that selling the paper helps her financially.

A stack of three paper business cards

Pollards Business cards | Photo by Ashley Clarke

“Keep on loving God and put your gifts out there,” Pollard said as  advice to all artist and writers who work with Street Sense who may be battling with issues such as homelessness. “I know it’s hard to be happy, especially if you don’t have any money, but money is not the ruler of the world. God is.”