Robert DeWitt Smith comes from a long line of old Tallahassee farming families. A graduate of Leon High School in 1956, Robert remains close to many of his former classmates. He has turned his passion for art into a true community resource.
After graduating from Leon, Robert served in the Army before studying Fine Arts at Florida State University. He later obtained a master’s degree in Instructional Communications at Syracuse University. He met the love of his life, Meredith, in Tampa and married her in 1965. He then applied his artistic skills in various graphic design positions, including in Nigeria with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
After two years in Nigeria, Robert and Meredith moved back to their true home of Tallahassee in 1969 and he began working for the Florida Department of Education as an educational media consultant. He eventually retired from DOE, but that didn’t stop his pursuit of the arts.
In recent years his paintings – featuring his distinctive signature “DeWitt” – have been highlighted in the Tallahassee Democrat, Gadsden County Times, and other publications. He has taught painting classes for 11 years at the Tallahassee Senior Center and the Fort Braden Community Center. “Seeing the joy and enthusiasm exhibited by the art class participants never fails to lift my spirit,” he says. His art has received recognition many times, including first place in the 26th Annual Art in Gadsden show.
Robert has served several organizations, including as chair of the Senior Center Art Council. He has also served on the boards of the Fort Braden Community Center, the Cities in Schools Charter School, and the Parramore Shores Neighborhood Association. He currently serves on the Leon County Senior Outreach Advisory Council. He was recently honored with the 2018 Tallahassee Senior Center Charles Hazelip Art Volunteer of the Year Award – although he prefers to highlight the Center’s other amazing artists who, he says, helped with the “heavy lifting.”
While he wishes he had more time to spend painting “en plein air” (outdoors) and traveling, Robert DeWitt Smith cherishes any time he gets for his passions. “Attitude is everything,” he says, “you make your outlook on life, good or bad.”