SUZI Janicki always loved art. Colour, line, perspective, taking a blank piece of paper and producing something amazing always brought her joy and satisfaction.
It's Ms Janicki's passion for the local art community, and constant support and sponsorship for children, that led to the Zonta Club of the Whitsundays presenting her with their "Thumbs Up" award.
"I was very surprised, I did not expect it at all. Zonta are a great organisation, they do so much for this community. I am very humbled to receive this award," Ms Janicki said.
Ms Janicki moved to the Whitsundays with her family nine years ago, and began entering her artworks into local art shows with great success.
After many requests to share her skills, she decided to open a gallery and teach.
A family tragedy almost prevented this dream from happening, but with the help of friends and family, she opened her business, Smart Arts in 2012.
With over 200 students including adults and children, she now finds herself in a unique position to be able to nurture a love of art, build confidence and provide an interesting meeting place for locals.
"Every week we have hundreds of children come through. Anything to do with kids I will try and come on board with. I see their potential. Every one of them has something special to contribute," she said.
This year, Ms Janicki assisted the Whitsunday/Airlie Beach RSL to run an art exhibition devoted solely to the remembrance of Anzacs.
Following its success, Ms Janicki decided to showcase the Whitsundays' local talent as well as invite works from outside the district and the inaugural Whitsundays Art Exhibition was launched.
This was a resounding success and a venture she hopes will give local artists exposure for their works over many years to come.
Ms Janicki also sponsors local groups and schools with art supplies, lessons and artworks. Her artworks have made money for local organisations as raffle prizes. She sponsors local and overseas children and gives art lessons to special needs children.
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