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Lit Fridays is a literary-focused, virtual salon presented by the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, featuring conversations and guest performances on the last Friday* of each month at 6:00p EST via Facebook Live and Zoom Webinar. All conversations are moderated by AWAACC Literary Curator, Jessica Lanay.
My name is Antonio Howard (Peggy’s son); I am an autodidactic artist. At the young age of 15, I was incarcerated and sentenced to life in prison, where I served 26 ½ years. While in prison, I educated myself through instructional books on the concepts and processes of visual art. Released in 2018, I’m now 45-years-old and live as a valued member of the Erie community committed to serving others and creating connection points through art that sparks meaningful dialog.
I am the 2019 recipient of Erie Arts & Culture’s Emerging Artist Fellowship. I am also a rostered Teaching Artist through Erie Arts & Culture / Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Since 2020, I have participated in the creation of multiple murals throughout Erie County, Whole Foods Co-Op mural; the Manus Sunoco Mural honoring 93-year-old veteran, educator, and Gannon alumni Luther Manus; The MHA Tree of Life mural; two City of Erie bandwagons; and a Purple Martin mural behalf of Bayfront Eastside Taskforce. I am also the author of three books: When A Child Is Worth More Than the Worst Mistake He Ever Made; A Black Man and A Spear(e); and Love Is When You Want The Best (For Someone Else). I sit on the board of directors for the Mental Health Association of Northwestern Pennsylvania and I’m an organizing member of the Pardon Project of Erie County in addition to being an American Bar Endowment Pardon Fellow.
I’m also a core member of Erie’s Participatory Defense, an Erie community organization that offers support to individuals and their loved ones navigating the criminal legal system. When I’m not working my day job as an assistant paralegal with the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Pennsylvania, I participate as a guest speaker and presenter, focusing on topics related to the criminal legal system and equitable reform. I’m also the owner of Murals by Antonio Howard, through which my wife Sarah and I create process-driven, community-centered murals. We work to turn blank walls into opportunities for learning, relationship building, and beautification.