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September 2009

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Harriet Smartt


Since 1994, Harriet has been an extremely active volunteer and supporter of the Gibbes Museum of Art. She has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2003 and served as president of the Women’s Council from 2003-2005. In 2003 and 2004, Harriet was a member of the Gibbes leadership team for the South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Participation Project, which focused on the development of new audiences for the cultural arts. In 2008, she served as the Gibbes’ interim director and effectively led the staff prior to Angela Mack being named executive director.

Harriet has served and managed countless committees at the Gibbes and has successfully encouraged others to follow her example. She is always available to offer praise or her expertise in fundraising and project management.

According to Angela Mack, ‘Harriet selflessly gives her time, energy, and heart to the Gibbes and to the entire arts community in Charleston. She and her husband, Dick, are present at every Gibbes event, and Harriet is always involved in organizing our various events.’

Harriet also serves on the Advisory Board for the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. Mark Sloan, director of the Halsey, says of Harriet, ‘She is a rare combination of dreamer and realist. I think she is one of the most well-connected people in Charleston. Because she has her hand in so many vital organizations, she is uniquely positioned to provide useful, relevant, and timely information about other activities within the city.’

Harriet serves on the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Arts Alliance, the primary arts advocacy group in South Carolina. In addition to her support of the arts in Charleston, Harriet also supports organizations that empower women, including The Center for Women and Women Making a Difference.

Harriet Smartt’s smile is always present as is her unwavering support for the organizations she champions. The arts community in Charleston is stronger because of her involvement.”

— The staff of the Gibbes Museum of Art


“Harriet pursues the enhancement of the arts through her volunteer work in the Charleston community as well as in the state of South Carolina.

Harriet has dedicated her time, energies, and resources to the School of the Arts for several years, supporting programs as varied as the Lowcountry Heritage Society and serving on the Charleston Antiques Symposium committee. Wanting to take on greater responsibilities, she began a two-year term as chair of the Friends of the School of the Arts and vice president of the School’s Council in 2007. Today, Harriet continues her service on the Council and also volunteers on the Special Events Committee of the Advisory Board for the Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art.

Harriet’s calm approach to planning and executing events is typical of her style and an outgrowth of her ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude. She understands that every organization’s precious resources include staff time, and she seeks to support the college without creating additional work for the staff.

In addition to supporting the School of the Arts, Harriet also maintains significant involvement with many other organizations in Charleston. Those groups include the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Center for Women, and Women Making a Difference. At the state level, Harriet serves on the board of the South Carolina Arts Alliance, a nonprofit group that is South Carolina’s leading arts policy advocacy organization.

When the South Carolina Arts Commission celebrated its 40th anniversary, it established the Forty Lists Project to develop ‘lists of the people, accomplishments, ideas, and milestones that have contributed to the development of the arts during the past 40 years.’ Harriet appears three times on the list that names outstanding volunteers and board members ‘working to promote the arts in South Carolina.’ The responses on the list are as follows:

‘Ms. Smartt is a dedicated volunteer who truly supports the mission and staff of each organization with which she is involved.’

‘Harriet is involved in every aspect of the arts in Charleston, and she works tirelessly for each association that she’s involved in. I can’t imagine that I’m the first and only person to recommend her, but please add my name to the list!’

‘She supports the arts and encourages her friends to do the same!’

This enthusiastic recognition is good evidence of the positive impact that Harriet has had on the Charleston community and across the state. I am sure that many organizations would be delighted to have her working with them.

Harriet is involved with all of the groups I have mentioned in this letter because she is truly interested in helping others.”

—Valerie Morris, dean, School of the Arts, College of Charleston




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