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Originally published Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 12:00 AM


Chuck Smart, artist and musician

In his own words, Chuck Smart, a Kitsap County transplant from Ohio, was a musician and artist born into a family of musicians and artists...

Seattle Times staff reporter

In his own words, Chuck Smart, a Kitsap County transplant from Ohio, was a musician and artist born into a family of musicians and artists in a culture of music and art.

During his 67-year life, he explored much of the world, performing, collaborating and recording music; conducting research; and collecting instruments. He studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Cleveland Music School Settlement, and at the Karamu House Theater for Dance and Music in Cleveland.

He was perhaps best known in the Pacific Northwest as a local pioneer in digital fine art, specializing in computer-modified photographic collages, and for the mixed-media art he sold online and at galleries in Bremerton and Silverdale, and at the Seattle Art Museum's sales and rental gallery in downtown Seattle.

Mr. Smart, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September, died Dec. 29 with his wife, Dawn, of Bremerton, and his brother, Sydney Smart, of Boston, at his side. He entered hospice care on Christmas Eve, his wife said.

In Ohio, Mr. Smart was associate dean of students at Antioch College in Yellow Springs for 16 years and taught percussion. He performed and conducted workshops in ethnomusicology and hosted jazz programs on the radio.

He and his wife moved to Kitsap County, where Dawn had been raised, after Mr. Smart was downsized out of a position at Antioch College in the mid-1980s, his wife said.

Art and music were equal passions, his wife said. For a number of years, he was invited to show in the Edwin T. Pratt Exhibit presented by the Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle. His work was also exhibited at the downtown Bon Marché department store.

According to his wife, two of his pieces were selected in 2000 by the U.S. State Department for an exhibit in the U.S. ambassador's residence in Swaziland.

Mr. Smart shared studio space in a downtown Bremerton storefront with local poet-artist M. Anne Sweet, of Des Moines, and Kitsap artist Alan Newberg.

"He was on the cutting edge of digital fine art long before it was a recognized art form," Sweet said.

Last year, Mr. Smart won "best of show" in the inaugural CVG Show, a statewide juried art exhibition at Bremerton's Collective Visions Gallery, for his digital mixed media piece "Garden of Eve."

On the same day he entered hospice, his piece titled "Life and Death" was accepted for this year's CVG Show, next month at Collective Visions Gallery.

Mr. Smart's works sold at SAM's sales gallery for a decade. "One of the things I most admired was that he was interested in all forms of art," said Barbara Shaiman, director of the sales and rental gallery. "There was a lot of carry-over between his interest in visual arts and music," she said. Some of his pieces included photos of musicians.

In Silverdale, Mr. Smart showed at Old Town Custom Framing and Gallery, and in Bremerton at Amy Burnett Gallery.

For several years, dating back to the late 1990s, he regularly commuted to Bellevue to volunteer as a DJ on jazz and world-music shows for KBCS-FM radio (91.3). He also worked at Bud's Jazz Records in Pioneer Square and wrote for Earshot Jazz, a Seattle-based monthly newsletter. His artwork also appeared on the newsletter's cover.

He posted information about his life and his work on his Web site,

Arrangements for a memorial service are pending.

Charles E. Brown: 206-464-2206 or

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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