jackie sumell (b. 1973, Brooklyn NY) is a prison abolitionist and multidisciplinary artist inspired most by the lives of everyday people. She has spent the last 2-decades working directly with incarcerated folx, most notably, her elders Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox.
Her work, anchored at the intersection of art, education, permaculture and social practice has been exhibited extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. She has been the recipient of multiple residencies and fellowships including, but not limited to a: 2021 Art Matters Fellowship, 2020 Art 4 Justice Fellowship, S.O.U.R.C.E. Fellowship, 2020 Creative Capital Grant, A Blade of Grass Fellowship, MSU’s Critical Race Studies Fellowship, Robert Rauschenberg Artist-as-Activist Fellowship, Soros Justice Fellowship, Eyebeam Project Fellowship and a Schloss Solitude Residency Fellowship.
sumell’s collaboration with Herman Wallace (a prisoner-of-consciousness and member of the “Angola 3”) was the subject of the Emmy Award-Winning documentary Herman's House (Best Artistic Documentary 2013). An ardent public speaker and organizer, sumell's work with Herman has positioned her at the forefront of the public campaign to end isolation in the United States, inviting us to imagine a landscape without prisons.
jackie’s work stands at the intersection of social practice, mindfulness practices, and prison abolition. She received a B.S. from the College of Charleston, and M.F.A. from Stanford University.
sumell currently resides in New Orleans Louisiana where she continues to work on Herman's House, Solitary Gardens, The Prisoner’s Apothecary PLUS and several other community generated, advocacy based projects.