The Sweet Briar community was saddened to learn of the passing of William Edward Smart Jr. of Amalgamated Housing Cooperative in The Bronx, and formerly of Amherst and Lynchburg, who died on Saturday, February 9, 2019, at Montefiore Hospital. Smart was a noted professor of creative writing and English literature at Sweet Briar College and long-time director of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. His teaching collection "Eight Modern Essayists" went through eight editions and is still used in many classes. Smart was born on February 28, 1933, to William E. Smart and May Ferne Smart in Jefferson City, Mo., received his B.A. from Kenyon College in Ohio, and an M.A. in English literature from the University of Connecticut. Smart's teaching career took him from the University of Connecticut, New Britain, to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to Sweet Briar College in Virginia. He was a two-year Fulbright Fellow to the United Kingdom from 1964-66. In the mid-1970s, after attending the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in its first incarnation outside of Charlottesville, Va., Smart saved the young institution by becoming its director and moving it to a vacant historic estate owned by Sweet Briar College, creating the first artist colony/college relationship. During his 20-plus years at the VCCA, Smart grew the artists' colony into becoming the nation's largest, rebuilt its campus after a major fire, and helped found the international organization of artists' colonies, Res Artis. Smart spent the last 20 years working on short stories and novels, traveling, visiting his many artist friends around the world, and enjoying life in Amherst and then The Bronx with his beloved wife, Aynur, of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Smart was an enthusiastic reader, lover of art, films and music, and grand conversationalist throughout his life, always ready to share the things he loved with those he loved. In addition to Aynur Smart, Bill Smart is survived by Paul Smart and wife, Fawn Potash, of Albany, N.Y., Anne Fern Smart of Lakeville, Conn., Sarah Smart of Brooklyn, N.Y., Jessie May Carter and husband, Chris Carter, of Faber, Va., and Harry Matthews of Catskill, N.Y.; cousins, Larry Lewis, of Centralia, Mo.and Barbara Brockman Crespi of Columbia, Mo.; and six grandchildren, Samuel Albert Weisman, Julian Henry Weisman, Milo David Smart, August Aaron Quinn, Josephine May Carter and Oren Charles Carter. He was predeceased by his son, David Henry Smart. Smart's remains have been accepted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. A local memorial service will be held at Sweet Briar College and the VCCA on Sunday, May 26, 2019.
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