Since 1986, thousands of young people have participated in SMARTS.
Many have found their life’s path with us. Here are just a few….
“Wow! This is such a great program. I was in the visual arts program and then voice. It was definitely one of the reasons I am still singing today!” The Boston Phoenix has hailed Michelle Trainor (SMARTS ’90, ’91,) for her “powerful singing and dramatic delivery.” Michelle received her Master of Music with Distinction in Opera Performance from the Longy School of Music.
“SMARTS changed my life! Seriously! What a great program! Xox” Apolonia Panagopoulos (SMARTS ’94, ’95, ’96). Apolonia lives in Los Angeles where she makes experimental narratives on 16mm film, video, and super 8; often collaborating with filmmaker J.R. Hughto. Her films have screened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; at the Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge, MA; and at REDCAT at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. Her film The Tropic of Faxafloi also showed at the Ojai Film Festival in October 2006. She recently completed a feature entitled Parity.
“I attended SMARTS visual arts for three years and I found it to have one of the greatest impacts on my life. The experience I received is invaluable.” Shana McKenna (SMARTS ’91, ’92, ’93). Shana now works at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.
“Such happy memories! I really believe SMARTS changed my life as a dancer and as a person. I never worked outside my comfort zone as much as I did those summers. It made me a braver person, allowed me to learn so much about all different types of art, and forged some of the best and most lasting memories of my childhood.” Jennifer Hartford, SMARTS 90’s in dance.
Robert Robinson attended the SMARTS Summer Institute dance program on full scholarship for four years. He trained at the School of Hartford Ballet and graduated from the Juilliard School in NYC in 2005. Robert is now a choreographer and instructor of ballet and modern.
Scott Monaghan attended the SMARTS drama program for many years and is now President of SM&KK Studios, NY and Chicago. He uses graphic design and web technology to creatively propel branding of businesses. Scott created the song and sang the commercial for iRobot Roomba.
Casey Holford attended the SMARTS drama and creative writing program and now is producer/engineer of Golden Rule Studio, Brooklyn, NY. He produces music and sound for songwriters, bands, video, online, and radio.
Jessica Lorion toyed with a variety of professional aspirations. She thought about being a pediatrician, a graphic designer or an actress. After attending the SMARTS Summer Institute for 4 years and getting positive feedback on her singing, Jessica decided to put her efforts into musical theater. She is now in the touring production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Matt King went to SMARTS visual arts in the 80’s and is a professional artist and professor at the Art Foundation Program at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Jill Goodwin, whose mom Jean Wenzel was our dance teacher from 1986-1996, went to SMARTS all through her grade school years and now teaches dance for us and her own two children attend.
Hannah Kelly went to SMARTS Multi-Arts for 4 summers. She is now on the editorial staff of Comedy Central, Hollywood, CA.
Trapper Felides went to SMARTS Multi-Arts and Drama for 4 years and is now a vocal coach in NY and has his own TV show, The Next Big Thing.
Joanne Levesque (Jo Jo) went to SMARTS programs for many years on scholarship. She is now in film.
Angela and Kayla Vernaglia, both went to the SMARTS multi-arts program for many years and then did the SMARTS dance program for many years in the 80’s/90’s. They are now co-owners of The Mind Body Barre, Rehoboth, MA that offers a platform for creative expression, emotional release and connection to the authentic self with fitness as an avenue.
Mike Erickson went to SMARTS for 6 years. “Looking back, SMARTS of the '90s, old Brennan, the Wheaton years. My mind is totally blown. Is there a better way for a kid to spend a summer!” He is a now a web developer and designer, music nerd and computer geek.
Kira Hawkridge went to SMARTS for 4 years in the multi-arts program. She is now a theatrical director, actor, and drama teacher for SMARTS.
Lucas O’Neill, a drama and creative writing student at SMARTS in the 80’s-90’s. “Can't overstate how fundamental to my development SMARTS was and wish more kids had the opportunity to go to arts camp.” He is a freelance Digital Producer and Multimedia journalist for ESPN's Playbook and Golf Magazine, N.Y. After SMARTS, Luke went to Vassar, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Harvard.
Jake Maguire, SMARTS in the 90’s , is now Director of Communications @ Community Solutions, Atlanta Georgia, an organization that strengthens communities to end homelessness. Jake was a Graduate Fellow in Public Policy at the Archer Center, N.Y.
Matt Desmarais, went to SMARTS multi-arts for many years in the 90’s, attended Massachusetts College of Arts and is now the GIS Director at Town of Hopkinton, Rhode Island
Many have also chosen other paths and look back on their time at SMARTS as part of their confidence and leadership development. Shannon Hourigan, a past SMARTS visual arts student for many years, is a postdoctoral Fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital. Chad Laliberte, a past Multi-Arts student, is a Massachusetts State Policeman.
SMARTS is committed to providing training and education in and through the arts to propel young people to further their education and encourage them to find their place in the community.