Ex-YSU professor donates $60,000 to arts program

YOUNGSTOWN – The Students Motivated by the Arts (SMARTS) program has received a large boost in its “All in One” campaign.

Former Youngstown State University English professor Dr. Barbara Brothers donated $60,000 in honor of her late husband, Dr. Lawrence Haims, to help bring SMARTS to downtown Youngstown. The arts organization’s new home will be in the Ohio One Building after previously being housed on the YSU campus.

The $750,000 campaign, which provides capital, programming and sustainable funding to ensure SMARTS future, is now at 69 percent of its goal thanks to the gift by Brothers.

The campaign breakdown is: facility renovations, $221,500 or 30 percent; facility lease for five years, $128,500 or 17 percent; facility needs, $350,000 or 47 percent, programming for three years, $375,000 or 50 percent; and endowment for future programming, $25,000 or 3 percent.

SMARTS provides quality fine and performing arts programming that is accessed by thousands of Valley children who otherwise may not have access to the arts.

This nationally recognized program is an innovative and leading arts education program that has been a gift from the community to the community, according to a news release from Becky Keck, SMARTS executive director.

SMARTS started at a public institution in 1997 and is transitioning to the community as Your Community Art School! SMARTS has received many local, state, and national honors and is the lead arts organization for Warren’s Any Given Child program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.