2023 Pinnacle Award
GOSO is proud to present our 2023 Pinnacle Award to Valentino Dixon for his resilience in the face of injustice and his willingness to speak out in support of others.
After suffering an unimaginable injustice, Valentino Dixon’s life was changed by his art — and by golf, an unexpected development for a young man from the East Side of Buffalo. At 21, Dixon was arrested and convicted of a shooting he didn’t commit, receiving a life sentence that would keep him wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years.
After his first seven years in prison, Valentino rekindled his artistic passion from his youth and found himself drawing ten hours a day, a practice he maintained for 20 years until a warden took notice of his talent and asked him to draw the famous 12th hole at Augusta National. His virtuosic knack for rendering the subject earned him critical praise and publicity, which finally led to the delivery of justice. Valentino walked free in 2018 after the confession of another man was accepted (the confession was made just two days after the 1991 shooting).
Now, Dixon has rubbed shoulders with Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, and sold artwork to Michelle Obama and other famous patrons. He’s been nominated for Emmy awards. He’s written and published his own book. He’s created a clothing line and an art foundation — the mission of the Valentino Dixon Foundation is to unite humanity, shine a light on injustice, and champion the voices of the wrongfully convicted — and plied his talents as a content creator on YouTube.
But through all of it, Valentino hasn’t lost sight of his motivation and what brought him here. “I just want my story to motivate people to never give up.”