Music, Other, Performing Arts
MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2016, 2015
Artist StatementIn this world of deepening problems, I continue to dedicate myself to music, comedy, ventriloquism, and puppets because they are my gift to give. They are the best I have to offer my community and children's music, in particular, offers perfect opportunities for community-building. I see again, and again, at my performances people of all stripes who join together in their love of children! My artistic goal, then, is to continue to create moments of musical joy for as long as I am able.
Ventriloquist, musician, composer, and performer Valerie Leonhart Smalkin was one of the writers, performers, and co-producers as well as the head puppeteer of the Emmy award winning television program It's Kindertime on Baltimore’s ABC affiliate WMAR-TV 2. Val’s CD, A Gentle Halloween, received a Parents’ Choice Fun Stuff award in 2015, and in 2016 her follow-up CD, Sing! Sing! Sing!...and Dance!, garnered a Parents’ Choice Approved award. Her latest CD, Love Bug! received a Parents’ Choice Recommended award.
Val's book Springtime Dance took gold in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards in 2014. As a recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council grant for solo non-classical performance in 2015, and for solo theatre performance in 2016, Val continues to perform and compose music designed for the 2 to 10-year-old set. As a ventriloquist, Val performs for all ages at family and educational events in Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York City, California, and Brussels, Belgium. As a jazz chanteuse Val performs with the occasional puppet and the Silverback Jazz Quintet in Baltimore, Maryland.