The Sherman Art League is one of the oldest art and cultural arts organization in Grayson County, estimating they began somewhere in 1960. Unfortunately, the years of history was recorded in notebooks that were lost when they were no longer able to meet at Gallery Frames.
In July 2016, Greg Ashby, a longtime supporter and member passed away. For years he opened his doors to them to have their monthly meetings at the gallery. The business closed and they no longer had access to their records.
When they lost their meeting place, Austin College graciously allowed us to meet in the Forster building. However, when COVID closed the campus the group once again lost its home.
At any given time the Sherman Art League has 30-35 members.
"Pat Pierce, one of a few members who has had the longest years of membership, said she joined Sherman Art League in 1962 when she moved to Sherman. Because of work, I have been a member off and on since the 1980’s," Sherman Art League President Linda McAnaney said.
The group is very diversified which makes it a learning experience for everyone when they meet. Citing their love for art they admire and respects one another’s work whether it be oil, watercolor, pastels, sculpture, collage, acrylic, pencil, ink, or photography.
"Art of a different media piques the interest to step out and give that a trial. This is one reason I have so many art supplies!" said McAnaney. "We are grateful for continued interests in the Arts. What would our world be without art of all media and sculpture?"
Sherman Art League is hopeful to find members who have a common ground to join. They do offer individual memberships as well as family memberships, giving them a wide age range in their group. They are always looking for people who are open, enthusiastic, and willing to offer constructive criticism. Everyone is invited to become a member, it’s not necessary to be active in art, just enjoy the programs they provide. They allow you to attend as a guest to see if the group appeals to you before joining as an official member.
"It’s, always, nice to have members who will pitch in and help, but not everyone is the age or physically able so they can just enjoy! Our sincere quest for art does not recognize age. This is one organization where everyone, in heart, is the same age," said McAnaney
Sherman Art League holds monthly meetings the third Monday of each month at 7PM. At the monthly meetings, they invite talented artists within a hundred miles to do a professional demonstration. They also hold an Annual Art Show and Sale the third weekend in September in conjunction with the Sherman Arts Fest and continue to have their annual Christmas parties. Melissa Eason, Sherman Library Administrator, has invited the league to display their art at the library. They rotate the art in the library two or three times a year so there is always something new to be seen.
"Melissa has been an Angel, helping us in so many ways!" gushed McAnaney
They have a very community minded, conscientious membership and because of this McAnaney has felt comfortable reaching out to the members to participate in activities of assistance.
When Sherman received their Cultural Arts Designation, the league helped decorate large boxes to place in front of stores and in the storefronts representing gifts to Sherman celebrating their new status. They have also participated in both years of the Art DASH fundraiser. More importantly, they volunteered to assist Master Key Ministries in their first fundraiser in 2019. The theme was children’s chairs painted to represent children’s books.
Sherman Art League, in addition to a few more local artists, painted the chairs to be auctioned. Master Key had the book matched with each chair and had a very successful fund raiser. This year it was not possible for them to go forward because of the COVID. However, they did donate art again, which is being reserved for a later auction.
"We do not have tunnel vision on art alone. We feel like it is, also, our mission to help when asked," added McAnaney
The greatest obstacle that hits the Sherman Art League the hardest is funding and having a place to meet. They realize the importance of meeting the same day, time, and place each month. If an organization can’t be consistent on where to meet, it often has members drop out. They were very secure at Gallery Frames until the untimely death of Ashby, then losing the Austin College campus due to COVID also hurt them.
"July is the first time we were able to find a place to meet since our February meeting and we will be able to meet again this month. I don’t know how long we can meet at our current location," said McAnaney. "I have obtained a 501 c (3) non-profit organization status so, hopefully, I can find someone to assist us with applying for a grant. Sherman Art League has had a long life and it would be a shame to lose the only art organization that offers a professional demonstration every month."
The Sherman Art League does sell art work through their annual show and also the work on display at the Sherman Library is available for purchase. If there is an art piece a person would like to inquire about, they can contact McAnaney through the Sherman Art League web page, where her contact information is listed.
"Art has been with us from the very beginning of time and will be here until the end of time. It would be interesting to look into the future…. one hundred, two hundred, one thousand years ahead to see how it evolves," said McAnaney
Membership dues are $25 a year for an individual or $30 a year for a family. Information on the Sherman Art League as well as membership forms, and events can be found at www.shermanartleague.com.