The nonprofit Creative Capital announced today that Triangle artist Sherill Roland is one of 42 artists to receive one of its $50,000 grants. 

Roland, a Durham-based artist, received his BFA in design and MFA in studio art from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Since 2016, he has been running The Jumpsuit Project, a performance piece that grew out of the ten months he spent in state prison on a wrongful conviction, in 2013, while in graduate school.

After being released, Roland continued to wear the orange jumpsuit for the duration of his MFA, challenging the stigmas and prejudice of the incarcerated. In 2015, he was exonerated; he has since continued to raise awareness to social issues surrounding mass incarceration with his art. (You can read an INDY Week review of Artfor(us), Roland’s 2016 Art Space solo exhibit, here).

More recently, he was a resident at the Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies and a recipient of South Art’s 2020 Southern prize. The Jumpsuit Portal, an extension of the project—which Roland defines as a “social practice”—is the focus of the Creative Capital Award.  

The awards come at a difficult moment for artists, many whose sources of income have been interrupted, as cultural venues and performance series are put on hold during the pandemic.

All told, 42 artists representing 35 multidisciplinary projects received $50,000 grants from the 2021 Creative Capital Awards. As reported by Hyperallergic, this year’s recipients span a wide, diverse gamut, sprawling across 12 states and territories and ranging in age from 20s to 70s, with 76% identifying as people of color. 

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