Tyra Patterson's passion and therapy is art. During the 23 years she spent as a prison inmate, art was her only escape. She was in prison for a crime she did not commit, and was released on Christmas Day, 2017. She had been helped by the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, and one week after her release, they hired her as a paralegal.
Patterson never learned to read or write. She dropped out of elementary school as a child when her family was homeless. She got educated in prison, earning her GED and taking specialized classes. This month, she was commencement speaker at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. "What could I say to such brilliant students? Here I am, an elementary school drop out." She told the grads to "be kind, because kindness will open doors that education won't." Then she was surprised to receive the school's 2020 Creative Perseverance award, and an honorary Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
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