The Warehouse Arts District and ArtsXchange St Pete are proud to present
Long Walk to Justice: Visions from Attica Correctional
On August 10, 1991 in Valentino Dixon’s hometown of Buffalo, New York, a fight erupted late night outside of a restaurant ending with the murder of Torriano Jackson and three others injured. Based on an anonymous tip, the police arrested Valentino Dixon.
Two days after the arrest, Lamarr Scott confessed to the news media that he shot and killed Jackson. Despite this confession, Scott was not taken into custody, and authorities continued to pursue Valentino based on several shaky eyewitness accounts. On trial at just 22 years old and with infant daughter Valentina at home, Valentino was convicted and sentenced to 38 1/2 years-to-life in prison on June 12, 1992.
Valentino struggled to adjust to life in prison until he reconnected with his inner passion for art. While serving his sentence under wrongful conviction, the warden at Attica Correctional Facility asked Valentino to draw the 12th hole of the legendary Augusta National Golf Course. Despite never having set foot on a golf course and knowing nothing about the sport, Valentino began drawing images inspired by photos in Golf Digest magazine - one of the few resources he had access to in Attica. Golf art became his escape from the harsh reality of prison life.
In 2012, Golf Digest Editorial Director Max Adler featured Valentino and his stunning artwork in an article titled “Drawings from Prison” for his column “Golf Saved My Life”. The following year, The Golf Channel ran a segment about Valentino’s case, giving him and his artistic talent national attention. Despite this and the committed work of pro bono attorneys Donald Thompson and Alan Rosenthal, Valentino’s hopes for exoneration waned as his appeals stalled in the courts.
However, in January 2018 Valentino learned that three Georgetown University undergraduate students, Ellie Goonetillake, Julie Fragonas, and Naoya Johnson, were re-investigating his case for a class taught by Professors Marc Howard and Marty Tankleﬀ. Featuring interviews with former witnesses and the original prosecutor, their investigation birthed a powerful documentary highlighting Valentino’s tumultuous journey through the legal system and ultimately fighting for his innocence.
On September 19, 2018 — 27 years after Valentino Dixon’s initial wrongful conviction — Lamarr Scott pleaded guilty to the murder of Torriano Jackson, and Valentino walked out of prison a free man.
Since exoneration, Valentino has taken his first steps on a golf course in Pebble Beach October, 2018 and was invited to the Masters Tournament April, 2019 at Augusta National Golf Course where he met and spoke with Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.
For more than two decades, Valentino drew from six to ten hours a day at Attica Correctional Facility and has continued to draw everyday since his exoneration. His uncle’s words live on forever, “If you reclaim your talent, you can reclaim your life.”
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