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Renowned Artist, Former Denton High Student Donates $1 Million for Fine Arts Endowment

Mark Smith, a renowned painter and former Denton High School student, has donated $1 million to the Denton Public School Foundation (DPSF) to start an endowment dedicated to fine arts.

The $1 million endowment – coined the Mark and Barbara Smith Trust – is the first of its kind in Denton ISD history. The endowment will provide various educational opportunities for students and educators across all branches of fine arts, including band, orchestra, choir, theatre, art and more.

“We think this is a transitional time in public education, and a system like Denton ISD could be the model for other school districts,” Mr. Smith said. “[Denton ISD] is exemplary. Its excellence is something that needs to be celebrated and underscored. The help that two people can give has its limits, obviously, but the gesture in and of itself helping fine arts students at this juncture in time couldn’t be more important.”

Mr. and Mrs. Smith had spent the past year searching for the best way to support children who are seeking a path in fine arts before touring the new Denton High School campus. Mr. Smith has four decades of experience working as a professional artist, design consultant and professor of Arts and Design, both at Texas Woman’s University and Austin College.

And while Mr. Smith is passionate about fine arts himself, he is also passionate about helping students and educators pursue their own fine arts passions, as well.

So, after finishing his tour of Denton High School, Mr. Smith’s vision of how to help became clear, leading him to his generous donation to the DPSF.

“We hope that our support will have symbolic value as well as a practical value,” Mr. Smith said. “We are beyond happy we found Denton ISD and the fine arts program.”

Denton ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jamie Wilson said Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s generous contribution is a testament to the district’s vibrant fine arts department, as well as the Denton ISD community’s continued support of public education.

“This endowment will impact future generations of fine arts students and educators for decades to come,” Dr. Wilson said. “We are incredibly grateful for Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s donation, and we cannot thank them enough for investing in our school district. We are excited to begin providing additional opportunities for so many of our talented fine arts students and educators.” 

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