In 1972, New Orleans native Herman Joshua Wallace b. 1941 was serving a 25-year sentence for bank robbery when he was accused of murdering an Angola Prison guard and thrown into solitary confinement. Many believed him wrongfully convicted. Appeals were made but Herman remained in jail and—to increasingly widespread outrage—in solitary. Years passed with one day much like the next.
Then in 2001, Herman received a perspective-shifting letter from a Jackie Sumell, a young art student, who posed the provocative question: “What kind of house does a man who has lived in a six-foot-by-nince-foot cell for over 30 years dream of?” Thus began an inspired creative dialogue, unfolding over hundreds of letters and phone calls and yielding a multi-faceted collaborative project that includes the exhibition “The House That Herman Built.”
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