Sherry Ackerman’s Life In Art

By Erika Janik | April 29, 2016


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Sherry Ackerman always loved art but hid her interest and her work until retirement. Now she sells her paintings and helps other nonprofessional artists discover and nurture their own artistic skills. 

Sherry Ackerman grew up surrounded by art. Her mother was a painter. Her father a photographer.

“When I was younger, I always liked to draw but I never told anybody that I liked to draw. I was pretty intimidated. I did it in my bedroom. School was easy for me. I didn’t study much so I had a lot of free time so I would draw,” says Ackerman.

Even as she hid her art, Sherry didn’t stop making art. She even started painting.

After a career teaching Spanish and Chinese, Sherry retired and signed up for… a painting class. It’s there that she got the confidence to enter her first exhibition.

“The very first time I had the guts to put a piece in Lake Mills. I put a piece in and I didn’t get a state award but I got an honorable mention. I was so excited. I called everyone I knew. I called my first cousins. It gave me so much encouragement that someone liked my work besides my friends and family,” says Ackerman.

From her win, Sherry began exhibiting and even selling her work. She also became involved in the Wisconsin Regional Artists Association and poured her heart into its Tiny Treasures fundraiser, a showcase of original art in miniature.

“They are two and half by three inches so they are very very small.”

Sherry says that some of the artists objected to painting small at first but then they discovered that painting small helped them with larger compositions. 

Sherry contributes some of her own pieces and has purchased several Tiny Treasures for herself.

From her own experience, Sherry knows the meaning that winning an award can have for an artist.

“I especially love getting the tiny treasures and seeing people who have never exhibited or won anything win an award. It’s so thrilling for me and so thrilling to them,” says Sherry.

Painting is no longer something Sherry hides. The walls of her home are covered in her work.

“Now it’s in my blood. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t set my day up to allow time to paint,” says Sherry. “And if I don’t, I feel like something’s missing.”


Erika Janik

Erika Janik

Erika Janik is the co-creator and former executive director of Wisconsin Life. She is the author of six books, including Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction, Apple: A Global History, and  Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine. She’s currently the executive...
2018-01-19T17:52:53-06:00Tags: , , , |

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