Tom Skelly

"The Sound of Pictures"


Tuesdays 11:00AM - 12:00PM

Founder of the Treasury of Claremont Music project, Tom Skelly launched his college education through the G.I. Bill and went through the UC system, finishing with an M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate University. Upon graduating, Skelly became consumed in the arts and led a thirty-year career working as an Artist Facilitator for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Working in local prisons, Skelly taught art and music, while creating and managing a multi-disciplinary arts program that included visual, performing, and literary arts. Additionally, he was engaged in an abundance of community arts related projects with his Arts-In-Corrections program. In 2011, Skelly began teaching a yearly course in the art department at UCLA on the subject of Prison Reform through the Arts, a position he would hold for six years.

Concurrent with his career, Skelly participated on many local Claremont committees for public art works, curated art exhibitions at the Claremont Community Foundation, has been an active radio DJ at KSPC since 1985, and has produced several radio programs for NPR’s Soundprint documenting the artistic culture of the incarcerated. Over the years, Skelly has been an active studio and exhibiting artist in the local and Los Angeles area for visual and sound art installations. As a guitarist, he has been a band member of Baboonz with Norma Tanega and Mario Verlingeri, as well as the group, Skellytones. He has performed at art openings, new music festivals, colleges, and performances with the Claremont dance group, Shrimps, with Pam & Steve Nagler.

As a Claremont local, and through his work in radio, Skelly became connected with many of the city’s local musicians. He refined his skills and knowledge of the field through interviews, crate digging for records, and hosting live shows. As a love letter to Claremont, Skelly has taken the imminent task of documenting important musicians that have contributed to the uniqueness of this area with his Treasury of Claremont Music project.

After forty active years living in Claremont, Tom Skelly now resides in Portland, Oregon to join his family and continue his arts activity. Tom continues his radio show, “The Sound of Pictures” - hand-crafted radio for movie music and anything that requires a soundtrack, old and new, near and far - which can be heard on KSPC 88.7 FM and on Tuesdays from 11am - 12noon, and also on KXRY Portland at XRAY.FM on Wednesdays from 4 - 5am, and archived anytime. 

“In Claremont, there are a lot of opinions in the town of consensus. I never get tired of running into people in the Village and exchanging ideas and relevant information. Most everyone is inspired about what they are doing and how it connects with others.” - Tom Skelly

Photography by Jeanne Steffan