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Rebecca Keck
H.O.P.E. Honoree 2023

Rebecca L. Keck has been an advocate for quality arts education for children in the Mahoning Valley for over 25 years. As one of SMARTS (Students Motivated by the Arts) founders, she has nurtured it from its inception in 1997 to its successful transition as a stand-alone, not for profit community art school. Under her direction, SMARTS received the Governor’s Award in Arts Education in 2017 and has continued to grow and expand to meet PK-12 arts education needs for children, teachers, artists, schools and youth organizations. SMARTS offers FREE classes in visual art, music, theater, dance and creative writing while preparing community teaching artists for success in their classroom. SMARTS works with schools and youth organizations to help them ‘teach the whole child’ through the arts.  She currently serves on the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE) Board of Directors, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society Board of Directors and its executive committee, and the Rotary Club of Youngstown Board of Directors. 

Ms. Keck is past-President of the Rotary Club of Youngstown, serves as an Emeritus member on the Mahoning County Salvation Army Advisory Board and has held a leadership role on many other art, youth and civic boards throughout Ohio. She is a co-founder for the Power of the Arts Initiative that has strived to create and sustain a collaborative structure for the arts and culture community and to participate in the Mahoning Valley’s economic revitalization. She worked with a group of community leaders to bring the John F. Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child initiative to Warren and for the past eight years has served as the Liaison to the Kennedy Center with SMARTS in the role of Lead Arts Organization. Rebecca L. Keck knows that learning in the arts is transformational for students and she has engaged our community to build and sustain SMARTS, ensuring that PK-12 students in the Mahoning Valley have access and equity in quality arts education. Diversity, equality and inclusion are a vital part of her work and the role of SMARTS in our region.

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