Editor’s note: Alison Dines, who grew up in Old Westbury and graduated from Wheatley High School, wrote this profile of her friend Bre Smith, who is seeking to finance a residency in a painting program in Paris. “My family, who still lives in Old Westbury, is like a second family to her,” Dines wrote, adding that Smith plans to exhibit her paintings on Long Island in the future.
Bre Smith is a native of Los Angeles, a current resident of Chicago but also a New Yorker at Heart. In fact, from 2018-2019, she spent more than a year as the Director of Training with a major hotel company in New York City. She also spent a lot of time with her friends on Long Island.
A true “Woman of the World,” Smith is a well-rounded, well-traveled and gifted individual who has been a leader in the hospitality business for many years. Like so many in our nation, her life was turned upside down in early March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Due to mandatory lockdowns, and the corresponding economic crisis, the hospitality industry was devastated, and Smith lost her position as the manager of an upscale Chicago social club and hotel. But to know her is to know what it means to be an extraordinary force for good.
When this worldwide calamity struck our nation and her community, Smith simply refused to sit by and wait for things to change for the better. With her newly imposed free time, she started a local chapter for Frontline Foods, which is a 501c3 charity. Smith led her Chicago chapter team to success with smiles and a faithful hope in such uncertain times. Her chapter, Amazing Chicago, was able to provide 75,000 meals to local heroes and frontline workers, and to raise over $550,000 in just a few short months.
Then something equally remarkable began to happen for Smith.
Smith began painting in her early twenties, and soon came to realize after so many encouraging comments from others at numerous art shows, that this was a passion she should continue to nurture. She loves to paint and to create personal masterpieces that, over the years, have come to adorn the walls of many homes around the country. Her reputation has become such that whenever she creates a new painting, the demand for her work is immediate. Smith’s paintings have been commissioned by many of her corporate clients in an effort to create something unique and spectacular for their offices, hotel lobbies, fine restaurants and private airports around the country.
With the onset of the global pandemic, Smith found herself in an unusual “Position of Opportunity,” and she seized it with the same joy and enthusiasm she brings to everything she does. She began to pursue her passion for painting more aggressively, and resumed creating. Her gift as an artist is just yet another manifestation of how inspiring she can be. Smith’s capacity to light up a room with her smile, and her ability to make even the shyest person come out of their shell to engage with others, is a rare gift few others possess.
Smith applied to and was accepted into, the Chateau Orquevaux Residents Artists Program in Paris. This is beyond thrilling to all who know her and appreciate her heart and talent. To help support her efforts, visit Smith’s Go Fund Me page.
Smith is a rare woman who will enrich your program by lending her unique and creative spirit to her work, and to her fellow students. In turn, she will learn, as well, to expand her artistic vision and abilities. In fact, many of us expect her to become the Vincent van Gogh of the 21st century. If you haven’t been to one her shows, be on the lookout for upcoming ones on Long Island. Explore her website, Instagram and join her mailing list for the most up-to-date happenings.
Smith said in an artist’s statement on her website: “I paint in layers, many layers, filled with colors and emotions—I often just allow the music I’m playing to guide me through my craft. I also enjoy painting something that everyone will view differently.”