Community. Creativity. Cancer Support.

Smith Center is a nonprofit health, education, and arts organization in Washington DC. Our mission is to develop and promote healing practices that explore physical, emotional, and mental resources that lead to life-affirming changes for people affected by cancer. 

Our programs focus on cultivating each person’s innate ability to heal, helping participants explore meaning and maintain hope—even in the face of life’s challenges.

We welcome you to join us for programs, visit us at our U Street Center and Art Gallery, or contact us to lean more.

More About Smith Center for Healing and the Arts

Farewell from Shanti

Dear Friends,

It has been over 20 years since I came to Washington to work with Barbara Smith Coleman and Michael Lerner to found our wonderful organization, Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. I am writing to let you know that I will be stepping down as Executive Director of the center this spring. It has been a privilege and a gift to work with so many of you to provide hope and healing to thousands of people living with cancer and serious illness in our community through our integrative cancer retreats, programs, patient navigation, and gallery exhibitions and always with your help to develop supportive programs for our mission.

I leave at a good time in Smith Center's development. We have strong program directors, a dedicated board and gifted staff. I know that Smith Center will move into a new and vibrant chapter.

Most important for now is to transition Smith Center and prepare for the next chapter. I have given ample notice to my board and staff and they are implementing a thoughtful search for a dynamic new leader. Our Deputy Director, Michelle Clermont has been with us for over ten years and is extremely competent to help with this transition. When the time comes, I hope you will join me in supporting the new Executive Director in every way possible to grow Smith Center into all that it can be to sustain its commitment for hope and healing in these challenging times. In the meantime, I will be fully engaged in my work here and in helping our remarkable staff prepare for this transition.

My very special thank you to Michael Lerner for the privilege of your good company over these many years and the blessings of your wisdom and loving heart. My memories of Barbara Smith Coleman and Web, Lenore Lefer, Dick Grossman and the amazing family who created our retreats all these years will go with me everywhere. As will the memories of all the extraordinary people who joined us in so many ways.

Let me simply say that I will miss working with colleagues and friends like you on important issues. Though this feels like the right decision for me, it does not make it an easy one. My last day will be at the end of March and then I will be on sabbatical.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I am grateful beyond words. I hope that you will stay in touch and continue to support the efforts of Smith Center into the future.

With gratitude,

Shanti Norris
Co-Founder and Executive Director

Announcements View All

  • *Job Announcement: Executive Director Search*

    Our beloved Shanti Norris is retiring after 20 years of brilliant service. We are looking for a gifted person to lead Smith Center's work forward. Our new leader should have creative vision, the ability to guide our staff, the capacity to grow our programs, and an ineffable quality of the human spirit that has permeated our work for 20 years. Read More


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