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Governor's Awards Spotlight: SMARTS


: Youngstown | Mahoning County

BIO: SMARTS is a community-based art school which seeks to motivate children to succeed in all areas of life by teaching them the discipline and focus that creating art takes. SMARTS offers classes during and after school to PK-12 students in visual arts, music, dance, theater, and creative writing. SMARTS has a 20-year history in the Mahoning Valley providing quality arts education classes, and in the past three years, SMARTS has successfully transitioned from a public institution to the community as a stand-alone organization. This spring, SMARTS will move into a new home in the historic Ohio One Building in beautiful downtown Youngstown through the ongoing All in One Campaign for SMARTS, which is providing support for the facility and future programming. SMARTS has provided leadership since the inception of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child. Any Given Child, Warren is the smallest school district and only community in the state of Ohio chosen for this great honor. Any Given Child, Warren is in its first year of implementation with PK-8 students engaged in more arts learning than ever before with programming supported by the Ohio Arts Council’s TeachArtsOhio initiative.

NOMINATED BY:SMARTS Logo Janus Small | Janus Small Associates | President

“Currently, SMARTS is providing arts experience during and after school at over 10 schools in the Mahoning Valley. During the 2016-2017 school year, SMARTS will provide quality arts instruction to nearly 600 PK-12 students.”


Barbara Shepherd | John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts | Director of National Partnerships

“As a result of the leadership of SMARTS, a wide range of advocates and stakeholders have been working for the past year, aligned toward the common goal of increasing quality arts education for all students in the region…Many children would have no access to music education without the resources they provide.”

Michael R. Crist | Ohio Music Education Association | President

“Community leaders and regional foundations have shown incredible support for SMARTS, but more important is the excitement SMARTS is generating among students, arts educators and parents in the region. SMARTS has a long history of serving the citizens of the Mahoning Valley, and the future looks bright that SMARTS will continue to be a leader in arts education in years to come.”

Mark G. Mangie | Attorney at Law

“In a world where arts and culture education is being downsized if not totally eliminated from our schools, SMARTS is providing a practical answer to the problem drawing on its experience first as an adjunct to a Youngstown State University, and now a stand-alone organization. Its success is a model for the rest of the nation to follow. It is a model showing how all parts of a community can come together to solve a problem, and make things better for the young people who are our future.”

William Mullane | Trumbull Art Gallery | Gallery Director and Treasurer

“SMARTS is about much more than art, it provides its students the tools needed to confront and operate a complex and competitive society.”

Deborah L. Grinstein, Esq. | Youngstown Area Jewish Federation

“Currently, SMARTS is providing arts leadership during and after school at over 10 schools in the Mahoning Valley with classes in visual arts, music, dance, theater, creative writing and SMARTS Beats, a drumming curriculum that enhances hand drumming program for children with disabilities.” 

The Governor's Awards for the Arts in Ohio is a statewide program that showcases and celebrates Ohio artists, arts organizations, arts patrons, and business support of the arts. The public is invited to nominate individuals and organizations in seven awards categories. A selection committee, made up of Ohio Arts Council board members and three individuals selected by Ohio Citizens for the Arts, chooses the winners. The program is presented by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation. The 2017 Arts Day & Governor's Awards Luncheon will take place Wednesday, May 17, noon, at the Columbus Athenaeum. Visit for more details.

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