Arnold Raimondo

Watcher, 2014. Pastel

#1 'Viet Nam in the Anlo Valley', 2014. Pastel

Arnold Raimondo was born on September 30, 1950 in New York City. He is a Vietnam Veteran who was in the United States Army 173rd Airborne Division. He is 72 years of age and has been incarcerated since 1983.


“I always thought I could draw, but I never realized that I could do it well. Growing up, artistic endeavors were never encouraged in my family. In 2004, I saw a picture in ‘Heavy Metal’ magazine and I felt the urge to see if I could duplicate it. After some trial and error with a ruler and pencil, I produced a reasonable facsimile. I was pleased with the result. I was surprised at how satisfying it was and how I had become absorbed in the process of producing a piece of art. I then decided to try painting... I bought books on water colors and pastels and taught myself to work in these mediums. Some time around 2008 I started to work in oils because I wanted to leave something permanent for my family to have. I don’t consider myself an artist because I have not reached a level of expertise or knowledge befitting someone trained. All I know is that I love doing it.”

 

Billie Allen

America. Acrylic paint

"My art is the result of what happens when my emotions escape from the place within me, where I've kept them prisoner. Their cries; some in pain, anger, resentment, frustration, and on rare occasions joy, will erupt onto paper, canvas, or whatever material that's been chosen as the arena for their voices to be heard.

My brushstrokes are at times tamed. While at others, they show a passion that longs to be free, a voice that no longer can remain silent, and cry for a companion along to understand them! My colors are at times at odds with what some might deem to be complimentary. But who can dictate what another feels in their expression of one's self? I speak the truth in ever piece and never hold back!"

 

For more information on Billie Allen, please follow the link below:

www.freebillieallen.com

 

Conor Ryan Broderick

Knife Fork City, 2018. Watercolor

"The act of creating has always been important to me even from the earliest days of my childhood.  I was constantly building, digging, deconstructing, and rearranging. Creativity is in my blood as well, which has given me the gift of abstract thinking -  a skill I would later find as very useful.


Painting happened by chance for me in prison. I never was in one place for a long enough time on the street to pick up a brush. I used to sketch with graphite a lot, simple things that could qualify as "cute" artisan reproductions. However, one day a person handed me a watercolor paint kit, something I knew nothing about, but I then recalled my grandfather, Giles Kelly, was an accomplished painter who used watercolor paints. I figured, why the hell not try.


Art is important. It has taught me how to adapt. When learning something new, you have to be able to have a plastic concept of how things work. This means a willingness to change insight, which can lead to a more informed way of life.
Art is important to me because I am allowed to explore my creative lens, constantly progressing, trying to find different artistic styles that can be employed to describe various emotions. Art should be fluid, not in just the process of building a piece but over greater spans of time, an artist should be building on their skill set, but more importantly a dynamic artist will regularly attempt to leave their comfort zone."

 

Yusef "Q" Qualls

Clemency Petition for Yusef "Q" Qualls

Clemency PetitionYusef "Q" Qualls
00:00 / 03:11

First Love, 2018. Ink
and pastel

"This is my young cousin who has just given birth to her first child. I thought it was a beautiful picture, an expression of love. In prison it is sometimes difficult to use your creativity in positive ways due to things like lack of supplies or lack of space. When you have both, it's relaxing to be able to express thoughts through art. The world inside can be really small. Being able to create anything, learn anything, read anything, opens a person's world. I am always grateful to be able to share my thoughts, even if it's only through my art."

 

Jose "Tony" Medina

Clemency Petition for Jose "Tony" Medina

Clemency PetitionJose "Tony" Medina
00:00 / 02:02

Art for My Loved Ones, 2019. Paper and vinyl

"I have been incarcerated for 40 years. During this time I began to make baby shoes, pocketbooks, and other treats out of typing paper and vinyl or other every day items I could find like plastic bags or used potato chip bags. I have made these items for my own loved ones and others who are inside with me. Each piece can take between 6 and 12 hours and are good to help me get through the days. 

I am a survivor of lung and prostate cancer. I am living with only one lung. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, I have barely left my cell because I am afraid of what could happen to me if I caught the virus. As a result I have not been able to get supplies to make art and I cannot collect bags or paper from others in a way I once might have."

 

Kenneth Reams

Distributive Justice in a Liberal Society

 

What does distributive justice

In a liberal society -- mean?

Does it mean...equal justice?

Fairness, impartial,

Or confirming to what is morally upright

Or good in a culture?

 

Distributive justice in a liberal society.

Does it exist...

Anywhere...

Within our global systems of justice? 

Can you hear it,

Can you taste it,

Can you touch it,

What does it look like?

Is it an instinctive feeling

That you can consciously feel whenever it's accomplished or present?

 

Distributive justice in a liberal society.

Is the essence of it

Similar

To the poetic

And prophetic words

That echoed from the famous 1963 speech:

I Have a Dream,

Spoken by

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Or is the Bank of Justice bankrupt,

In spite of

What are constitutions may say

About justice, equality,

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

 

Distributive justice in a liberal society.

Is it just another one of those

Utopian ideologies that will forever exist,

As long as we continue to follow

The schemes of racism, discrimination,

material prosperity, and brutality --

Against our own?

 

I ponder.

I wonder.

As I sit here

On death row -- three decades on,

Seeking -- my own

Comprehensible translation of Justice.

 

For more information on Kenneth Reams, please follow the link below:

www.freekennethreams.org

Thurgood Marshall. Pencil and paper

 

Reggie West

Social Distance, 2020. Ink on paper

Reggie West's Artist Statement

My name is Reggie West. I'm a 38-year-old prison activist, poet, artist, and an inspiring writer who is serving a life sentence in a Pennsylvania Department of Correction, where I've been for the past 18 years.

During my incarceration, I have become a Certified Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist. I've also completed programs such as: High-Intensity Violence Prevention, Thinking For a Change, Victims Awareness Violence Prevention, and Anger Management.

I was also a Peer Educator and Mentor, where I assisted illiterate inmates with reading and writing.

I also have a long history of working with inmate organizations and outside community groups, such as: C.U.R.E., Books Through Bars, Families Union, Human Rights Coalition, Families and Communities United, and have been an advisor council member of the Human Rights Coalition, Real Cost of Prison, Decarcerate PA, and Prison Radio for years... I have a strong family support team. 

I would say that I am a reform prison and deserve a second chance at freedom again. 

Thank You All,

Reggie West...

 

Samson "Sam" Loynacan

Viral, 2020. Watercolor

Sam Loynacan's letter to loved ones and poem

18 April, 2020

Dear Mom & Ken,

Happy Corona Virus Week! I guess that there are a LOT of people on the unit that have the virus and so our lockdown keeps getting extended by 14 days every day. Fun. 

Well, this is about all for this time folks.

Trying not to go insane.

Love, Sam

The gravity and enormity is understood,

and sobering

Still, I cannot help but observing,

the fairness, with which it strikes.

No regard is taken, nor exception made.

Wealth, power, race, gender.

Social Status.

No shield can be raised.

Threats, bribes, nothing dissuades.

It spreads, infects. Yes, devastatingly,

yet with parity.

From this unique perspective I ca nappreciate,

if not admire,

a fairness, impartiality,

too often bereft in this world

So,

when the virus comes for me,

I will embrace it,

and as the weeks pass, until I recover,

or succumb,

I will suffer with gratitude,

an equal of mankind,

and enjoy being a person again

 

Solomon Gideon, Jr.

Understand, 1987. Acrylic

"The painting represents the flag that Black people displayed during the Silent Parade march in 1917 in New York City to protest lynchings and discrimination in the South. The green represents the land, the yellow represents the sun, the black represents the people, and the red represents the blood we shed for the struggle. My great, great grandfather marched in the Silent Parade, and the message still resonates today. People are turning a blind eye to the risk of COVID-19 in New York state prisons, just like they turned a blind eye to the lynchings in the South. Some people just don’t understand. They only see one side of the story, they don’t see both sides. I did 42 years on a 25 to life sentence. I got out in January of this year. I’m doing my best, I’m going to be successful. I’m doing this for them; I’m representing the people who are still incarcerated. Governor Cuomo - let people doing the right thing, people that have done all that time like I did, think about giving them a second chance. People deserve a second chance. See our humanity and understand us. And we will celebrate the joy of freedom."

 

Tiona Rodriguez

A New Start, 2020. Pen and Colored Pencil

Letter from Tiona Rodriguez to artist liaison

Pastor Isaac,

Thank you so much for reaching out to me. I truly appreciate your card, supportive words and the money that you sent me! I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy in these difficult times. I can't wait to hear from you again and get an update on everything you have been doing. I haven't done much art work lately, college has been consuming most of my time as well as fighting for me and the other female inside of here. They haven't been doing anything correctly since this coronavirus outbreak started. It's very stressful but we are all trying to stick together and make sure they fix the conditions that they have us living under

 

You're always a thought on my mind as well. Remember: HOPE.

Well, my prayers go out to you and your beautiful family.

Love always, Tiona

 

Incarceration Shouldn't Be A Death Sentence.
“Clemency may be a pardon, shortening of a prison sentence, commutation of a sentence, or a reprieve..."

- US Legal “Clemency Law and Legal Definition”

Take Action

​​Your Governor can issue life-saving clemency to preserve the lives of people incarcerated in the midst of this pandemic. The demands to free everyone who is within one year of their release date and all who are elderly, sick, or pregnant are a part of a broader set of demands necessary to prevent prison sentences from becoming death sentences.

Follow the links below to support the exhibiting artists and other people who are incarcerated under inhumane medical conditions during the current pandemic.

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Join the ClemencyCoast2Coast Campaign

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Contact your governor directly
and demand that they take steps to protect people at risk of contracting and dying of COVID-19 during incarceration. Click here
for tips on making effective phone calls
to governors.

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Learn more about the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign and their demands. 

Programming

Join our online programming events to explore challenges and imagine alternative solutions to
mass incarceration.

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Prison Art as Activism

June 11 from 5-6pm EST

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Clemency, Early Release and Community Concern

June 25 from 5-6:30pm EST