Smart Living Awards
The Judson Smart Living Awards honor individuals of all ages who are dedicated to the dynamic atmosphere of University Circle. Winners are recognized in the categories of Arts, Education, Healthcare, Philanthropy, and Volunteerism.
For more information about the Judson Smart Living Awards, please contact Rob Lucarelli, (216) 791-2321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to the 2013 Judson Smart Living Award winners. For previous years' winners click here.
The 2013 Judson Smart Living Award Winners
Isabel Trautwein, Arts
University Circle is a treasure trove of cultural resources, but many of the young people who live within walking distance of these arts institutions are not exposed to the riches they offer.
Music is a true gift, and it's one that Isabel Trautwein gives to inner-city youth in Cleveland who participate in El Sistema @ Rainey, a model of how a music program can create great musicians and change the lives of underprivileged young people.
"Our inner-city youth often aren't exposed to the riches of their own cities," says Trautwein, a violinist in the Cleveland Orchestra who took a year sabbatical from her career to receive training in the El Sistema music education way. She initiated the intensive orchestral after-school program at Rainey Institute in 2011. "None of the children had a musical background," Trautwein says of the first through fifth graders who participate. "They are becoming proud to be part of a team that they know is exceptional."
What makes El Sistema special is its culmination of music
education and youth outreach. The benefits of participating in an
after-school program like this that requires commitment from
students are many. For one, music becomes a stabilizing factor in
what could be a challenging and unpredictable
The program encourages students to think seriously about the future and what it holds for them. "We see children are really feeling great about themselves and making choices that lead to good futures," Trautwein says.
Trautwein ran daily operations of El Sistema @ Rainey its first year. Today, she is on site twice weekly and teaches private violin lessons to eight of the students there.
Her vision is to make University Circle the headquarters of El Sistema Cleveland, and to create more programs in northeast Ohio. "I'm hoping 20 years from now, we can have a youth orchestra of 300 kids who would not have played instruments otherwise," she says.
Bruce Checefsky, Arts
Diversity is top priority, next to spatial considerations, when curating exhibits for Cleveland Institute (CIA) of Art's Reinberger Galleries. Bruce Checefsky has served as director for the last 19 years-he began as coordinator in 1990.
"Over the course of a student's career here, if they take
advantage of every exhibition, the galleries expose them to a wide
opportunity to see as much work as possible," he says.
Checefsky curates an annual exhibition of work by CIA students, introduces the community to local artists, and hosts a variety of cutting-edge shows by outside artists.
Also under Checefsky's direction, CIA's public art programming has expanded through exhibition space in the Joseph McCullough Center (JMC) for the Visual Arts on Euclid Avenue. Last year, the Reinberger Galleries and JMC together hosted more than 60 exhibitions.
Meanwhile, Checefsky exposes students to the riches of University Circle through a course he teaches called the Culture of Display, which is offered through the liberal arts department at CIA. The curriculum includes visits behind the scenes at the museums.
Checefsky's own work, beyond curating, involves recovering and remaking lost or forgotten films. During the past decade, he has been remaking shot films that were either lost or destroyed during World War II. "It's a kind of project that is an interesting blend between curatorial practice, which I love, and studio practicum," he says, a trained photographer.
His favorite is IN NI (Others), based on an unmade 1958 script by Polish artist and experimental filmmaker Andrzej Pawlowski. It is inspired by a diary written by someone who was detained in a psychiatric hospital during the occupation of Poland.
"For me, this type of work is the perfect merging of my two fields of interest," Checefsky says. "Artists can be curators, and curators can also be artists. Those things aren't mutually exclusive, and I'm getting that idea out there."
Brenda Flenoury, Education
She's been called a "star polisher." But Brenda Flenoury humbly brushes off such acknowledgement. "Young children are just sponges," she says. "They are so eager to learn from you, and they delight in being in the classroom."
As a preschool teacher and curriculum coordinator at The Music Settlement, Flenoury says what inspires her daily is watching the light bulb go off for young children, from those who are barely walking to those entering kindergarten.
"To be a part of that discovery when children figure out how something works for the first time is very exciting for me," says Flenoury, who began her career as a high school science teacher. Twenty-nine years ago, Flenoury was asked to substitute teach at The Music Settlement, and she has been educating young minds there ever since.
Flenoury led the charge on facilitating the Step Up to Quality
accreditation. "We are proud of the fact that we are a three-star
center," Flenoury says.
Flenoury says it's a joy to work in University Circle, where the Music School Settlement can make a positive impact on people of all ages, including residents of Judson who enjoy performances and visits from the students. "That interaction between generations is important to us," she says.
Beyond the Circle, Flenoury has advocated for children in the community as a teacher at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), where she has conducted numerous workshops on child development and early childhood curriculum. She worked with the Early Learning Initiative Program, an enrichment program modeled after the Smithsonian Institute education model.
"I love seeing the potential in children grow and develop," Flenoury says. It's the small and often quiet moments that remind her of why she chose this path. "I had this experience this year where a little girl who was ill just needed to hold my hand-and that is what teaching is really about to me," she says. "You're building a trust."
Danny R. Williams, Healthcare
A trained advocate and a believer in justice for all, Danny Williams' mantra is to improve the quality of life for every person. As executive director of The Free Medical Clinic of Cleveland, he brings his attorney background and deep expertise driving non-profits toward success to forward the Free Clinic's two-fold mission: To provide free medical and related services to people without other alternatives; and to advocate for policy changes to make health care accessible to everyone.
"We'll help people who come through our doors, and we also want to change the system," sums up Williams, who took over leadership at the Free Clinic in 2006. Prior to that, Williams was executive director of the Cuyahoga County office of the American Cancer Society (ACS), and helped open the Joseph S. and Jeannette M. Silber Hope Lodge, a no-cost temporary place to stay for adult cancer patients and their families who travel to Cleveland for treatment.
During his time at ACS, Williams also relocated its headquarters to University Circle in a new facility at the intersection of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue. "If we were going to claim that our priority was to help the underserved community, then we needed to be where the people are," he says.
"I'm taking everything I've learned as an advocate and pointing that at trying to provide core services to historically underserved communities," says Williams, who was former Mayor Michael White's law director.
At The Free Clinic, Williams is driving advocacy issues by starting conversations in the community about health care accessibility and the relationship between wellness and economic development. This year, the Clinic will hold its second forum, Economic Development: What's Health Got to Do With It? "The goal is to gather those unusual suspects-the business community and policymakers-to get them to think about economic development in a different, broader way," William says.
Laurel Rowen, Volunteerism
Volunteering keeps the mind fresh, fills the spirit with energy and gives one a sense of purpose. Plus, it's a great way to meet new, interesting people. These are just some of the reasons why Laurel Rowen gives generously of her time to organizations including the Association for Continuing Education (ACE) at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU).
ACE is an independent, non-profit organization that provides engaging learning experiences for inquisitive adults. ACE works in partnership with CWRU, and its programming is diverse, including an Acclaimed Authors Luncheon Series that Rowen helped create.
"There is so much to know and so much to be interested in," says Rowen, a life-long learner who was on faculty at CWRU and retired from MetroHealth, where she worked in hospital pediatrics as a child psychiatrist.
Rowen is passionate about continuing education and igniting adults' interest in new topics. "I think the intellectual stimulation of continuing education programs is important-one wants to keep current and continue being a lively part of the community, and this is a nice way to do it," she says of ACE programs.
Rowen, who lives in Shaker Heights, just 10 minutes from University Circle, has always been engaged in the cultural resources offered so close to home. Today, she serves on the Women's Committee for the Cleveland Orchestra, and is a member of the Cleveland Museum of Art Women's Council.
As president of ACE, a volunteer position, she has helped transition ACE as part of CWRU's Laura & Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program. She meets regularly with CWRU leadership to support programs and events shared by ACE and the University's Lifelong Learning Program.
"You start out participating in continuing education programs because you enjoy it," Rowen says of her own involvement in curriculum. "It keeps you healthy."
A. Chace Anderson, Philanthropy
Chace Anderson remembers visits to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History as a child. "I've always had a love of the out-of-doors and science and natural history, so it was an easy transition for me, as an adult, to become involved at the museum at a board level," says Anderson, who is president of the board of trustees of Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
"It's a wonderful place," Anderson enthuses, relating that the broad mission that culminates programming, exhibits, research and education, means the museum has an extensive reach in the community.
With mergers such as that with GreenCityBlueLake (formerly EcoCity Cleveland) and acquisitions like Health Space, which the museum adopted four years ago, the Natural History Museum continues to push the boundaries of its core collections. The museum is accomplishing important work. "Our paleontologists are redefining the roots of mankind through discoveries in Africa, and our dinosaur expert has discovered four to five new species in the last several years," Anderson says proudly.
The Natural History Museum welcomes more than 100,000 students each year. And, every second grade Cleveland school student is prepped with classroom curriculum prior to a daylong visit to the museum. Then, children are given passes to bring their families back to the museum. "That is the way kids begin to 'own' the museum and convey the lessons and discoveries with their families," Anderson says.
As the museum reassesses its future and strategic direction, it will launch a campaign to fund a rebuilding of the facility. "This will transform the museum physically and in terms of how visitors experience it," Anderson says of the design. The museum hopes to break ground in the latter part of 2014, Anderson says.
"I think one of Cleveland's most incredible assets is University Circle," says Anderson, who is vice president of CM Wealth Advisors, and previously served as chairman of the board of Judson.