Mary-Leigh Call Smart (1917 - 2017)

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YORK, Maine - Mary-Leigh Call Smart of 32 Surf Point Road, York, Maine, died on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.

She was born in Springfield, Illinois, on February 27, 1917, the daughter of S. Leigh and Mary Bradish Call. She graduated from Monticello Seminary and Junior College, Godfrey, Illinois, now Lewis and Clark Community College. She attended Oxford University in England the spring term in 1935 and received an Extra Mural Delegacy Certificate. In 1937 Mrs. Smart graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. degree. In 1939 she received an M.A. from Columbia University, writing her thesis under Justin O’Brien on Andre Gide. The same year she was Queen of the Springfield Art Association’s annual Beaux Arts Ball.

In 1940-41 Mrs. Smart did Public Relations for the International Institute, Boston, Mass., and briefly for the Bettman Archive, New York City. She returned to Columbia University and also attended New York University to study Agriculture and Business and Finance. When the United States entered World War II, Mrs. Smart enlisted in the W.A.V.E.S. as an Apprentice Seaman in the first class of officers’ training. In 1945 she left the Navy as a Lieutenant (j.g.) and took up the management of Illinois grain farms, which she owned. She was an early contour farmer and had the second terraces in Logan County, Ill., for which she ran the levels with the surveyor.

In 1951 she married J. Scott Smart, star of radio, film and early T.V., and painter and sculptor. They built a house in Ogunquit, Maine, and were active in the art community, being founders of Barn Gallery Associates, of which Mrs. Smart was later president for six years in the 70s and 80s and vice president from 1994 until the organization’s dissolution in 2003. The Smarts established Lowtrek Kennel and bred Basset Hounds. Jack Smart died in 1960. Like her parents Mrs. Smart was an art collector, acquiring a large number of paintings, works on paper and sculpture many of which she gave to museums.

In 1970 Mrs. Smart bought property in York, Maine, and with artist Beverly Hallam built a duplex house. They are leaving it with the balance of the property to Surf Point Foundation, a non-profit foundation, which Mrs. Smart established in 1988, patterned on the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H. It will give visual arts, art critics, architects, and art scholars’ residencies of up to a year to complete a body of work, which will be exhibited or published first in Maine.

Mrs. Smart was president of the Board of Advisors to the Art Gallery, University of New Hampshire from 1981 to 1989. She was one of the twelve incorporators of the Ogunquit Museum of American Art for several years. She was appointed to the National Committee of Friends of Art of Wellesley College from 1983 until her death, a member of the Collections Committee of Westbrook College (now the Westbrook Campus of the University of New England) from 1987 to 1991 and a recipient of the college’s Deborah Morton Society Award in 1993. She was elected a member of Maine Women’s Forum (of the International Women’s Forum) from 1993 until her death; she was a member of the Council of Advisors of the Farnsworth Museum, Rockland, Maine, from 1986 until it was disbanded.

Mrs. Smart served as vice president of the Old York Historical and Improvement Society at the time of the merger of York’s three historical organizations in 1982. She served two terms as a director of the Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation from 1991 to 1997 and was appointed to its Artist Advancement Grant Committee in 2001, to establish a grant program. Mrs. Smart was an Advisory Trustee, then a fellow of the Portland Museum of Art for several terms; she was the founding vice president of the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce in 1966 and was made an honorary member for life. She served on several Maine State Biennial Exhibitions Committees and was a member of the jury for Maine scholarship awards of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture from 1982 to 1984.

She leaves cousins, Mr. David L. Linney, Cape Neddick, Maine, and Mr. Peter K. Bradish, Cocoa, Fla., also Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Taylor Wohl and Ms. Deborah Frost Taylor, New York City.

Private burial will be in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois, arrangements by members of the Linney family. At her request, there will be no services. Contributions may be made to Surf Point Foundation, 32 Surf Point Road, York, Maine 03909.


Published in Fosters from Jan. 15 to Jan. 18, 2017
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