Sherrill Roland’s The Jumpsuit Project at Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery

Sherrill Roland reads a magazine in a library while wearing an orange prison jumpsuit
Sherrill Roland (Brooklyn Public Library Performance Image, photo by Gregg Richards)

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April 2, 2019 — The Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery and the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown University are pleased to present Sherrill Roland’s interactive performance art event, The Jumpsuit Project, on April 10 and 11.

Roland spent nearly one year in a D.C. prison for a crime he did not commit before being exonerated of all charges in 2015. He returned to art school and developed The Jumpsuit Project in response to his experience. He is currently completing a Post-MFA Fellowship as part of the Documentary Diversity Project at Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies.

During his performances, which will be captured by a Duke documentary filmmaking team, Roland interacts with the public in an orange jumpsuit, encouraging viewers to address their own prejudices towards those who have been incarcerated. The Jumpsuit Project and Georgetown College’s de la Cruz Art Gallery aim to provide a safe space for the public to question, process, and challenge the crisis of mass incarceration.

The two-day event will begin on Wednesday, April 10 at 10:30 a.m. in the de la Cruz Art Gallery. Until 3:30 that afternoon, Roland will occupy a space the size of his D.C. prison cell inside the Gallery while wearing an orange jumpsuit. Roland invites the public to listen and converse with him as he shares personal stories to heighten awareness and challenge assumptions about incarcerated people.

The following morning, Roland will introduce a new element of the performance created for this occasion: The Jumpsuit Walk. Roland will walk six miles in his orange jumpsuit from DC’s Central Detention Facility, where he was incarcerated, to the de la Cruz Art Gallery on Georgetown University’s campus. Roland invites the public to join him for the middle leg of the walk, which will take place along the south side of the National Mall between the U.S. Capitol reflecting pool and the Lincoln Memorial, from approximately 9 to 10 a.m.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Roland will perform The Jumpsuit Project in the de la Cruz Gallery. Immediately following his performance, Roland will have a public dialogue with Dr. Marc Morjé Howard, Professor of Government and Law at Georgetown University and the founding Director of the Prisons and Justice Initiative (PJI).

“We are incredibly proud to be collaborating with Sherrill Roland — a talented young artist who possesses the ability to create much needed change — on the first DC iteration of The Jumpsuit Project,” said Al Miner, Founding Director/Chief Curator of Georgetown University Art Galleries. “Sherrill’s performance is the perfect fit for our new Galleries program, which highlights the link between contemporary art and social justice through engaging exhibitions and public programs.”

The Jumpsuit Project
First performance:  April 10, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
National Mall walk: April 11, 9 to 10 a.m.
Second performance and dialogue: April 11, 6 to 8 p.m.

Maria & Alberto de la Cruz Art Gallery
3535 Prospect St. NW
Washington, DC 20007
Contact: GUartgalleries@georgetown.edu, or visit bit.ly/delacruzartgu

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