Thursday, May 11, 2006

KXAN report on Death Penalty Art Show

Death Penalty Art Exhibit
May 10, 2006, 07:19 PM

Link to video of KXAN story. Look for little red camera picture to start video.

Just last week, five arson experts told Texas officials they may have executed an innocent man in 2004.

The experts said faulty science was used to convict Todd Willingham of arson charges in a fire that killed his children.

Jim Swift reports the case provides some urgency to a new art exhibit about the death penalty at a downtown gallery.

(The following is a transcript of Swift's story.)

The art show was conceived by the Texas Moratorium Network, an organization that wants a halt to death penalties in Texas while potential injustices are addressed.

Texas Moratorium Network President Scott Cobb says: "Can you imagine sitting there on the gurney, knowing that you had woken up in the midst of a fire and your kids had died and you had, you know, managed to save yourself. And there you are being executed by the State of Texas."

But just about the time you start to feel sorry for these people, you walk around the corner and find another piece, which includes, among other things, page after page which lays out in excruciating detail the crimes these people are convicted of having committed.

Cobb says: "We put out a call for representation from all sides of the death penalty issue."

But as it turned out, all but one of the 700-plus submissions from 19 different countries reflected an anti-capital punishment stance.

Show Juror Annette Carlozzi says: "If you don't examine how you feel about it, what you think about it, and if you don't find a forum to express that in, nobody loses but you, ultimately, you know. Because other people will make those statements for you."

For that very reason, Carlozzi encourages people to attend it.

Carlozzi says: "When you leave, you get to ask yourself the question that we avoid asking ourselves most of the day, which is, 'What do I really think about this?'"

Meanwhile, show organizers say there is still time for pro-capital punishment artists to submit work.

After all, they favor a moratorium, and they know they will never get one unless everyone starts talking.

Carlozzi will give a gallery talk about the death penalty art Thursday at 7 p.m. at Gallery Lombardi at 901 West Third Street.

The exhibit itself runs through May 22.

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