Sadly, this morning I discovered (through another inmate at Calipatria, CA State Prison) that one of the participating PATH artists had just passed away at the young age of 55.
I had been corresponding fairly regularly with Alfredo Raigosa Arredondo since November 2014 when he had eagerly responded to a “Call to Incarcerated Artists” that I had put out via a radio interview broadcast. It was aired on "SISTA"S PLACE" KHSU90.5 (Sharon Fennell's groovy radio program now defunct) from Humboldt State University, and one which he was able to pull in while incarcerated at Pelican Bay State Prison in nearby Crescent City, CA.
The last letter I received from Alfredo was dated July 4th, 2019. He wrote to tell me that his 84 year old Mom had a mild stroke over this past Memorial Day weekend, and that he wished that he could be out of prison so he could help take care of her. Ironically, he wrote: “I’m dreading the day she goes with our good Lord , but it’s part of living...we all have to go sometime”. “I can’t tell her ‘Thank You!’ for the 55 years she has always been a part of my life. And, I appreciate everything she’s done for me. Well, I’m looking forward on crossing paths again with my little Mom”.
Alfredo mentioned that he had received the photos and postcard I had mailed him from my March trip to Paris, France. He wrote that was in the process of finishing up a Western Mexican’s Black Breasted Mag-Pie drawing for PATH’s "Birds, Bees, Butterflies and Flowers" exhibit scheduled for August 2020.
Alfredo had been out of S.H.U. (Segregated Housing Unit) since Oct 2015 and as all his letters to me attest, had been busy accruing educational certificates and most recently passed his G.E.D. exam on the very first try!
He proudly shared that he was planning on taking two courses this very month of August: one in Counseling Strategies for College Success and a Political Science course on the American Government. He had previously enrolled into Coastline College for this upcoming Fall Season which is to start August 26th. Apart from the courses outlined above, Alfredo was looking forward to taking Psychology Child Growth and Development, as well as Business Personal Finance.
Alfredo had dreams of becoming a General Contractor and mentor upon being released from prison. He even had a Parole Board Hearing date scheduled for 2023, which again and most sadly, he will never have the chance to attend.
Per his response to several questions on the “FUTURE ID’S OF ALCATRAZ” questionnaire, Alfredo shared that his passion was to help others. Pleasing others was his reward. Three things he loved to do as a child were: Swimming at the public swimming pool; target practice with his BB gun from the tree house; and raising pigeons and chickens.
God bless you, mi amigo en arte. May you rest in peace.
Leslie Lakes, Director
Alfredo's Self Portrait
Photo of his daughter and granddaughter
Excerpt from a letter he wrote me.