You may think of storytelling as an activity of words, but a picture is worth a thousand words! Capturing a specific moment in time through a photograph can create a near-permanent record of that memory. When a whole community contributes these images - from everyday life to life’s special events - a story of our shared world writes itself into the story of us. The Sherman Focalpoint(!) Project supports community-based documentary photography that displays strong composition and artistic merit while depicting a range of scenes from gritty reality to uncommon beauty. Photos, taken on any type of device, may be submitted to Focalpoint(!) by Sherman residents and will become part of a curated, permanent image bank [archive] of our story.
Sherman - a city of over 45,000 residents - is home to a racially and ethnically diverse population, to newcomers and old-timers, all representing a variety of interests. We can’t all know each other, but photography provides an accessible language to examine both unique and universal elements of life in our community. Focalpoint(!) encourages all residents to recognize the intrinsic value of their personal stories. Whether using the latest camera or the mobile devices at our fingertips, almost anyone has the power to observe and photograph life as it unfolds - and take on the role of “artist” in creating images that tell that story.
Communities share a “sense of place” that can be expressed through artistic activity. Focalpoint(!) strives to reinforce a creative environment - both physical and mental - through photography exhibits and public art inspired by the collected images. The Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which partially funds the Focalpoint(!) Project, also is supporting a planning process to create a ‘Vision for Public Art’ in Sherman. Public art provides gathering places, increases livability, inspires civic engagement and creativity , and generates economic activity. The planning document resulting from this grant will provide a blueprint for an exciting new art initiative for the Sherman Cultural District in downtown Sherman. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.