Handcuffs To Handshakes


Our City, Our Story

E05: Handcuffs To Handshakes

Joseph Goral was arrested in 2006 for vandalizing property with spray paint. He was one of a few that were made examples of by an anti-graffiti task force. Mayor Larry Morrissey’s press conference was one of victory, a large step forward for the “broken windows” campaign that the task force was a part of. Joe knew he did wrong, as he was defacing property that was not his with graffiti. However, the art form has given him as much success as it has gotten him in trouble. Joe in his craft, possesses a desirable skill, one where he most recently has been commissioned for mural work. He’s taken his vandalism and turned it into a career. Between private commissions for companies, to exhibits and individual pieces, he has leveraged that talent and changed its focus. Taking it from a temporary gesture to one that gives a welcome, more permanent reaction.

Through programs like the Emerging Visual Arts Program put on by the Element, Joe learned how to assemble a show under the guidance of Barb Berney and in a leadership role, he helped coordinate the artists and prepare pieces for display. This helped prepare him not only for the show most recently on display at Rockford College, but also helped him organize the 2012 St. Patrick’s day parade.

Joe has recognized that with effort, you can have an impact in this community. He is not only a talented artist, a performance artist, an organizer but he also helps his wife, Angelica Goral, run The Sweetery, a cupcake shop currently located at the Rockford City Market. Please stop down at Rockford College, in the Clark Arts Center to see the current show: “Army of Fleabag Dreamers”

  • Directed & Produced By
    Pablo Korona
  • Assistant & Second Shooter
    Julia Moore
  • Music
    Daniel James McMahon
  • Audio
    Zach Staas
  • Special Thanks

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These stories are a response to the national attention Rockford, Illinois received in 2011: from Forbes, #9 Most Dangerous in US; from the Wall Street Journal, #10th Most Dangerous in US; New York Times, Portraits From a Job-Starved City; and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show portrayed Rockford as a wasteland littered with chain fast food restaurants.

Our City, Our Story

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