FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A man who went to prison for 22 years said his life didn’t end with that sentence. It was just beginning. His story, and others like his, are being told at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.
“I really like the colors,” Clifton Mauricio said as he looked at artwork representing his life story for the first time on Monday.
Gray, black and red represent the story Mauricio told artist Daniel Dienelt. The story starts with a crime.
“An incident took place between myself and two other individuals,” Mauricio said. “It resulted in two people being shot. One lived. One died.”
At just 18 years old Mauricio was sent to prison for 22 years for the 1994 crime. While there he got his GED, Bachelor’s and Associate’s degrees. Then when he was released this summer, he enrolled in Blue Jacket’s Career Academy, and later landed the job he works now.
“It taught me so many things concerning the job world,” Mauricio said. “How to act during an interview, how to dress during an interview, how to speak, how to respect others.”
Mauricio is one of thirteen Blue Jacket graduates whose stories are portrayed by local artists as part of the Second Chances Art Exhibit. It’s an annual fundraiser for Blue Jacket.
“I think the best way to speak the message of someone being able to earn their second chance is through story telling,” Blue Jacket Executive Director Tony Hudson said.
Mauricio walked into his first Blue Jacket class this summer, and was surprised when he saw in the same class the man he shot and who had survived just 22 years later.
“It was an experience that really shocked me because I wasn’t expecting him to be there as well as him expecting me to be there, but during that time we got to know each other and we have a mutual respect for each other,” he said.
A story that began with a crime, but ends in a second chance.
“I don’t look at that like the end,” Mauricio said. “I look at that as the beginning because of who I am now in comparison to what I was so many years ago.”
A Second Chances Auction will take place Friday March 31. For info click here. The exhibit runs until April 16.