John Schratwieser Awarded 2017 Americans for the Arts “Alene Valkanas Award”

Kent County Arts Council’s incoming Director, John Schratwieser had been named the 2017 Americans for the Arts “Alene Valkanas Award” recipient for excellent in State Arts Advocacy for his work at Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA) – where under his leadership arts funding in Maryland grew nearly 60% from $13 million a year to almost $21 million.

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. These awards recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations committed to enriching their communities through the arts.

“These tremendous leaders have distinguished themselves as passionate advocates for the arts and arts education,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “They have implemented innovative and transformative programs to strengthen the communities they serve, and their unwavering commitment to local, state, and national support for the arts is deserving of this recognition.”
Since 2007, the Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award has honored an individual whose arts advocacy efforts have dramatically affected the political landscape at the state level. John Schratwieser serves as director of the Kent County Arts Council, where he has launched ARTikultur-MD, an artist residency program and facility, the first of its kind in Maryland. It will serve as a space for citizen artists to create cross disciplinary works as arts-based solutions for civic and social challenges. Schratwieser is the former director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA) where, for seven years, he led the state’s efforts to secure strong, consistent public funding for the arts; an effort that, with the help of hundreds of organizations and thousands of advocates, increased state funding for the arts by nearly 50 percent since the depth of the 2008 recession. Schratwieser received a B.A. from Fairfield University and an M.P.A. from The George Washington University. 
The awards will be presented at Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention in San Francisco on Saturday, June 17, 2017. FULL PRESS RELEASE >>

Smilow® Furniture Featured in New and Understated Park Slope Condo

This past week, Brownstoner featured a Park Slope home that one of our favorite design firms Jesse Parris Lamb worked on.

“The owners of this three-bedroom condo in a converted Park Slope mansion asked Jesse Parris-Lamb, an interior design studio with an office in Downtown Brooklyn, to furnish their apartment like a “friendly, lived-in Swedish professor’s home,” circa 1970.”

Enter Smilow! See some shots of the apartment below, and the entire article here.


Smilow® Furniture Featured in New and Understated Park Slope Condo

June 2017 Book Recommendations

Joyce Carol Oates’s, BLACK WATER: A NOVEL; a famous senator, a beautiful girl, and an accident. Chappaquiddick re-told.

Betty Rollin’s, LAST WISH; a mother suffers from painful cancer, and her daughter helps her die.

OPEN: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY; the life–so far–of the great Andre Agassi, tennis champ, and education advocate.

Richard Moe’s, ROOSEVELT’S SECOND ACT: THE ELECTION OF 1940, AND THE POLITICS OF WAR; how FDR strategically and successfully manipulated a third term in the White House.

June 2017 Book Recommendations

Customer Stories: Vintage Smilow

We always love to hear from our customers and share their stories—especially when they speak to the timelessness of our brand. Last week we posted the below photo on Instagram of a vintage Smilow sofa and lounge set, the comment we got from Louise Niemeyer—a longtime Smilow customer—made us smile. “My sofa and club chair. Love them every day now for 66 years.” Thanks Louise!

Reading fosters empathy and more positive social attitudes

WASHINGTON, DC – “As thankful as we might be for the productive technological innovations of the 21st Century, it is important to recognize that the digital society we’ve created has pitfalls—particularly for our youngest citizens,” says author and publisher David Bruce Smith.

According to Smith, the “new” electronic world fosters apathy instead of empathy and a new study out of the U.K. appears to prove it. “Researchers at London’s Kingston University discovered that kids who spend more time playing with high-tech toys over reading a good book are at risk of becoming disinterested and disassociated. Their data revealed that readers have more positive social attitudes.”

Smith describes himself as an ardent advocate of encouraging young Americans to absorb the history of the U.S—in particular. He urges parents and teachers to provide the kids in their charge with good books — fiction and nonfiction — based on historical fact. “I try to facilitate this task because it’s a way of providing our future generations with the knowledge they need to become productive, participative citizens.”

He cites Thomas Jefferson, the main author of the Declaration of Independence, the third president of the United States and the founder of the University of Virginia who said: “…apprising [students] of the past will enable them to judge the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.”

It’s not just Smith who relies on the words of Thomas Jefferson to make the case for books — page-turners, if you will — as teaching tools.

Annie Holmquist, in a recent article for the Minnesota-based think-tank, Intellectual Takeout, described Jefferson as an early believer in using books to motivate young learners because of the virtuous morals, which they teach the reader.

As Jefferson put it: “everything is useful which contributes to fix in the principles and practices of virtue. When any original act of charity or of gratitude, for instance, is presented either to our sight or imagination, we are deeply impressed with its beauty and feel a strong desire in ourselves of doing charitable and grateful acts also. On the contrary, when we see or read of any atrocious deed, we are disgusted with it’s deformity, and conceive an abhorrence of vice. Now every emotion of this kind is an exercise of our virtuous dispositions, and dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body acquire strength by exercise.”

The Grateful American Book Prize is accepting entries for its 2017 award. Works of historical fiction and nonfiction for children 11 to 15 years of age published between July 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017 qualify. The Prize is among the most lucrative for literary accomplishment, $13,000 — thirteen for the number of original colonies. In addition, two “Honorable Mention” winners receive $500 each.