Air date: January 16, 2014
From as early as kindergarten, Sherrell Garrison knew she wanted to paint. Sherrell: My first painting I remember was a butterfly from then I just knew. But growing up in Detroit, her family didn’t have the money for fancy art schools or college. Sherrell: Me and my mom were just sitting in the car one day and she was like I don’t know how you are gonna get you know pay for school and I was like I don’t know either Fortunately, Sherrell was awarded the first ever Detroit Dream Scholars scholarship to study at the prestigious College For Creative Studies. One stipulation of the award is that she create art every summer somewhere in the city. Her first such assignment was to beautify a soup kitchen run by an 83 year old woman known as Mother Batie. Sherrell: Once we finished the sign I was like oh man this is so worth it. Just to see the peoples faces and just see that they were so happy. I saw Mother Batie’s reaction and she was like oh my god…yeah it was like wow. Mitch: That’s the best kind of marriage of art and public giving isn’t it? Sherrell: Yeah oh yeah Mitch: To see the look on her face The next summer, Sherrell worked on a huge mural in one of Detroit’s most challenged areas. Mitch: Were you aware that Brightmoor was considered by some to be the worst neighborhood in Detroit? Sherrell: Oh yeah like I didn’t even have to read that to know. It was amazing to see a lot of people just drive past and was like good job thank you for making this so beautiful. Sherrell’s personal work has been hailed by her teachers. Sherrell: My art is about identity and so that is why I choose to paint portraits and so I guess when I paint I am trying to uh I don’t know give somebody uh to give an identity. Someone once said “What a society deems important is enshrined in its art”. If so, Sherrell Garrison is an example of what’s important in our city — a promising young talent, being nourished by and giving right back to the heart of Detroit.