Smith Center Anniversary


On June 22, 2017, Smith Center for Healing and the Arts celebrated two extraordinary milestones: the retirement of our Founding Director, Shanti Norris, and our 21st Anniversary.

The evening’s program included speeches from board members Michael Lerner, Jackie Ogg, and Jessica Stafford Davis; a sing-a-long led by Laura Pole to “Camp Granola” – a retreat tradition – and the presentation of gifts and two custom vessels designed by artists Wayson Jones and Nehemiah Dickson III to honor Shanti and her years of leadership.

Over 150 attendees joined us at our U Street Center. Some came from as far away as California and Maine. Those who could not attend in person sent beautiful tributes to honor Shanti and to share how Smith Center’s cancer support programs impacted the journeys through a cancer diagnosis.

“Shanti is one-of-a-kind.  What she and you all have built there is so, so special.  May it thrive on and on.” ~ Tom Large

This event also celebrated the launch of the Shanti Norris Cancer Retreat Fund: a lasting tribute to Shanti Norris’ 21 years of service.  This fund supports the Smith Center’s most intimate, transformative and pioneering work, our Cancer Retreats.  All contributions to the fund offset the cost of the retreats for cancer survivors and their caregivers and will enable us to continue offering partial scholarship assistance.

Thank you to all those who attended and donated to the Shanti Norris Cancer Retreat Fund!

As we move into our third decade, we do so with deep gratitude for our programs, retreats, navigation services and gallery offerings that share the common goal of supporting each person’s unique healing journey.  It has been a privilege to serve our community and a blessing to have touched so many lives. We thank you for taking part in this celebration and we look to the future with great excitement for what is to come.

“With just one kind gesture, Shanti Norris changed my life.” ~ Jennifer Mitchell

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