|John Sollom - Kisses For Kelly|
On the first anniversary of Kelly Thomas' death, Fullerton residents and artists connected to the cause have grouped together to present "Art with an
Agenda: An Exhibit Inspired by Kelly Thomas." The show, which opens on Friday, July 6, is a charity art
exhibit at PÄS Gallery downtown, blocks from where Thomas was brutally beaten.
The exhibit will feature original work of over 40 artists, including celebrities such as Cherie Currie of the Runaways and actress Susan Olsen. All the money raised from the show will go to the Kelly Thomas Memorial Fund, a non-profit
organization dedicated to helping the homeless in Orange County, founded by Kelly's father Ron. We talk to organizer and co-curator Stephan Baxter about his motivation, and why this exhibit is so important for Fullerton.
OC Weekly: Why did you decide to organize Art With an Agenda: An Exhibit Inspired by Kelly Thomas?
Stephan Baxter: I knew Kelly, I wanted justice served and I love art!
I wanted to introduce what I believe to be the best thing in Fullerton, the Art Walk, to what I know was the ugliest day in Fullerton's history, July 5th 2011, the day Kelly was tortured and beaten by up to six on-duty Fullerton officers.
I would often see musicians and artists I knew personally at the Kelly Thomas protests. Rikk Agnew who could be regarded as the father of OC punk rock and is one of the contributing artists, was at most protests, as was his brother Frank. Steve Soto, Jorge Disguster, Ricky Stauffer, Phil Genova, Julie McDonnell, all are old friends from the music scene, and all were involved early on.
We were demanding answers because we hated what these men in uniform did to a member of our community, and we were going to hold them, and all those who attempted to obstruct the truth from coming out, accountable. More »