Indianapolis Art Center
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Indianapolis Art Center > Outreach > SMART


SMART (Supportive Mentoring Through ART) is a year-long program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana and Starfish Initiative for youth ages 12-18 with a strong interest in art. Each year, 20 youth and their mentors work one-on-one with professional artists in classes at the Art Center. The goals of the SMART program are to:

  • Provide an advanced opportunity for youth who are underserved or facing significant life challenges to develop their artistic skills through participating in high-quality classes, field trips and workshops led by professional, working artists. Increase artistic engagement, art making skills, knowledge of careers and resources.
  • Foster positive Youth Development by developing critical thinking and problem solving skills through solving artistic challenges; reflecting on processes, context and product during art making and through critique; increasing ability to express oneself and convey feelings and thoughts via art in a safe, social setting.
  • Strengthen the bond between youth and their adult mentors by sparking mentor-youth dialogue; engaging in personal/emotional expression; participating in a shared experience and challenge; and equalizing the youth/adult dynamic through allowing opportunities for youth to be experts.
  • Connect youth to their community by increasing sense of belonging to Art Center community; increasing respect for others, empathy, ability to communicate and work with individuals who are different; and providing recognition, appreciation and acknowledgment of youth’s achievements.

After completing a full year of classes each student is awarded a certificate of completion. Several outstanding students are chosen to continue their art education at the Art Center through an extended program called SMART+.

Every June SMART students and mentors participate in an exhibition to celebrate their artistic accomplishments and individual growth.

2015-2016 SMART Funders:
Major funding of this program provided by the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Foundation
Transformation Trust, Inc.
Hearst Foundation
Lilly Endowment, Inc.
troika_new This program offered in partnership with:
Big Brothers Big SistersStarfish
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Arts Council        Indiana Arts Commission        Lilly Endowment        Broad Ripple Village

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