Heart of Detroit: Sherrell Garrison creates art in city of Detroit

Garrison was awarded first Detroit Dream Scholars scholarship to study at College For Creative Studies

DETROIT - From as early as kindergarten, Sherrell Garrison knew she wanted to paint.

"My first painting I remember was a butterfly. From then, I just knew," said Garrison.

But growing up in Detroit, her family didn't have the money for fancy art schools or college.

"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,'" said Garrison.

Fortunately, Garrison was awarded the first ever Detroit Dream Scholars scholarship to study at the College For Creative Studies.

One stipulation of the award is that Garrison 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.

"Once we finished the sign I was like, 'Oh man, this is so worth it.' Just to see the people's faces and just see that they were so happy," said Garrison. "I saw Mother Batie's reaction and she was like, 'Oh my God.' Yeah, it was like, 'Wow.'"

"That's the best kind of marriage of art and public giving, isn't it?" asked Mitch Albom.

"Yeah, oh yeah," Garrison replied.

"To see the look on her face," said Albom.

The next summer, Garrison worked on a huge mural in one of Detroit's most challenged areas.

"Were you aware that Brightmoor was considered by some to be the worst neighborhood in Detroit?" asked Albom.

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"Oh yeah, like I didn't even have to read that to know," said Garrison. "It was amazing to see a lot of people just drive past and was like, 'Good job, thank you for making this so beautiful.'"

Garrison's personal work has been hailed by her teachers.

"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, I don't know, give somebody, to give an identity," said Garrison.

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 the city -- a promising young talent, being nourished by and giving right back to the heart of Detroit.

Heart of Detroit

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