Anthony Papa, artist, activist and communications specialist for the Drug Policy Alliance, will be exhibiting more than 70 pieces of artwork at The Lower Eastside Girls Club's Art+Community Gallery in a show called, "Now and Then: The Art of Anthony Papa." The exhibit will feature his work from while he was incarcerated under the Rockefeller Drug Laws and his work since returning home in 1997.
Mr. Papa literally painted his way to freedom after finding his passion for art while serving a 15 years to life sentence for a first time nonviolent drug offense. While behind bars, Mr. Papa painted a self portrait, "15 to Life," which eventually displayed at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The injustice of Mr. Papa's case generated national and statewide media in New York and ultimately led to Governor Pataki granting Mr. Papa clemency after serving 12 years in jail. His book "15 To Life" is now on its way to becoming a feature film.
"Art has the ability to inspire and transform both the individual and society," says Papa. "The Girls Club has the same impact on hundreds of girls every day."
"Art has become my vehicle for expression and empowerment," Papa continued. "I hope to inspire the girls to find their passion and voice in whatever they choose to pursue."
The show will continue on until March 5th and is a benefit for the art and curatorial training programs of The Lower Eastside Girls Club. The Girls Club works with economically disadvantaged girls and young women ages 8-23, many who are personally affected by the Rockefeller Drug Laws through the incarceration of family members and friends. "At the Girls Club we believe that art has the power to change reality and open doors. Tony Papa's work shows the girls that this istrue," said Lyn Pentecost, Executive Director.
The event will be attended by Lower Eastside Girls Club members and their families, elected officials, drug policy reform activists and philanthropists.
I've been a longtime supporter and admirer of Anthony Papa and his work," said Lawrence Goldfarb, CEO of LRG Capital Group, Baystar Capital. "I am honored to lend my time and energy to support the work of my friend, Anthony, and The Lower Eastside Girls Club."
Mr. Goldfarb and LRG Capital Group will host a reception at the end of the show.
The Lower Eastside Girls Club Art+Community Gallery is at 56 East 1st Street between 1st and 2nd aves. www.girlsclub.org
For more information, contact Adriana Pezzulli at 917-653-8542 or Adriana@girlsclub.org
The Lower Eastside Girls Club is dedicated to providing a place where girls and young women 8-23 can grow, learn, have fun, and develop confidence in themselves and their ability to make a difference in the world. By delivering strong and innovative arts, athletic, cultural, life-skills and career oriented programming, we provide girls with the vision to plan - and the tools to build - their future.