Education

Ohio Arts Council Names Smarts as Award Co-Winner

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Youngstown’s Students Motivated by the Arts program – or Smarts – was named one of nine winners of the 2017 Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

Smarts is being recognized as co-winner of the Arts Education award, along with Dayton musician and educator Jim McCutcheon. The Ohio Arts Council named the 2017 honorees today.

Smarts and its executive director, Becky Keck, as well as the other honorees, will be recognized at a May 17 ceremony in Columbus.

The Governor’s Awards Selection Committee, comprised of six Ohio Arts Council board members and three members selected by the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation, recommended winners after reviewing 81 nominations submitted by individuals and organizations across Ohio.

Keck called receiving the award an “absolute honor” for Smarts.

“This recognition is proof that Smarts is a leader in quality arts education in the state of Ohio and throughout the country,” she remarked. “We are thankful for all of the support that we have experienced as we grow to serve our community and to our amazing arts teachers who teach our children the discipline, motivation, and focus to learn in the arts.”

Smarts was established at Youngstown State University in 1997 and separated from the university in 2014. The organization focuses on helping students from prekindergarten to 12th grade, including those with disabilities, gain a greater appreciation of music, dance, theater, the arts, creative writing and poetry and develop their leadership skills.

Smarts is converting space in the Ohio One Building in downtown Youngstown to serve as its base, and has a goal of raising $750,000 through its “All in One” campaign. The campaign is propelling Smarts into its new home “and for programming that will provide access and equity in the arts for PK-12 children,” Keck said.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.