SMARTS Continues Transition to the Community

For Immediate Release
Contact Information: Becky Keck, SMARTS Executive Director, Cell: 330-507-0688
July 17, 2014

SMARTS, Students Motivated by the Arts—Your Community Art School continues to transition to the community under the leadership of Becky Keck, SMARTS Executive Director and the SMARTS Circle, a 7-member Advisory Board. SMARTS Circle members include Ronald C. Faniro, Dan DeSalvo, Robert G. Bindas, Christine Rhoades, Joy White, Angela McCoy, and Nikki Carter.

The SMARTS Circle and several community advisors (Sarra Mohn, Mark Mangie, William Mullane, and Lisa Robinson) are currently working through a strategic planning process led by Paul Olivier (Senior Vice President, Physician Enterprises/Chief Network Integration Officer) and Nikki Carter (Director, Program Development) from Humility of Mary Health Partners. In addition to this, the SMARTS Facility team has been visiting possible facility sites for SMARTS new home. Resulting from the Strategic Planning Process is SMARTS new Mission and Vision.

SMARTS Mission, 2014–SMARTS community art school will provide access and early training in the arts for our region’s K-12 youth with a focus on underserved populations. SMARTS will engage public and private organizations, schools, and artists in cooperative projects designed to enrich our community, promote student achievement, inspire self-discovery, and impact cultural and academic literacy through fine and performing arts.

SMARTS Vision 2014—SMARTS community art school will continue to be the leader in quality arts education in our region, state, and nation by serving our community’s youth. SMARTS will provide quality arts education, and promote our region’s arts and culture by establishing partnerships, working with public and private organizations, and representing the diversity of our community. These new SMARTS Mission and Vision statements are a result of the recent Strategic Planning Sessions.

SMARTS transition to the community is supported by the following foundations; The Thomases Family Endowment of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, The Walter E. and Caroline H. Watson Foundation, the Zita M. and Joseph DiYorio Charitable Foundation, the Frances Schermer Charitable Trust & Lillian Schermer Charitable Trust, the Senator Maurice and Florence Lipsher Charitable Fund, the Youngstown Foundation, the Raymond John Wean Foundation, and many individual donors.

The Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County (FACT) is acting as SMARTS fiscal agent to give foundations and individuals the opportunity to financially support the SMARTS transition. FACT has a long history of nurturing artists and art and culture organizations until they receive non-profit status. SMARTS is currently able to accept cash and gift-in-kind donations through FACT, giving the donor the appropriate tax credits with no administrative fees. SMARTS will apply for its own 501(c)(3) once its organizational structure has been set. The Legal Creative (a local non-profit to support new arts organizations and artists) has provided all legal services pro bono and Jet Creative Productions has rebranded SMARTS as a new non-YSU identity.

For more information, to make a donation, or to sign up for future SMARTS quality arts education classes visit the new SMARTS website at