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The concept for this art/education project began in 2013 when Patti Smith, the Founder/Executive Director of Living Her Legacy (LHL) was leaving the Denver Convention Center and happened upon the 1989 Colorado Panorama: A People's History while walking to her car. This public art exhibit, hidden in a service drive, depicted men and women who helped create the foundation of Colorado. She thought, after further investigation, "if they can do that in Denver, let's recognize women in Fort Collins."

The Living Her Legacy initial planning team came together in 2014 with the purpose of honoring women's accomplishments in Fort Collins.  While the focus is on accomplished women who have had such a dramatic impact on our community, the fundamental purpose of this project is to inspire the next generation of young girls.

Georga O'Keeffe - quote, Living Her Legacy.jpg

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way -- things I had no words for." 


- Georgia O'Keeffe, American Artist, "Mother of American modernism."

Strong and positive role models can make a difference in a girl's life.  Living Her Legacy will facilitate this not only through the visual art exhibition, but also through education programs for Poudre School District students in 2nd grade through high school and at Colorado State University's Department of Ethnic Studies, Women's Studies and Gender Research.  There are also programs specifically designed for 5th grade girls - Role Model Art Workshops and a Girl Leaders Program for 16-19-year-old girls including teen mothers.  Living Her Legacy's focus is for underserved population of Northern Colorado.


Recognizing women's accomplishments to inspire girls futures.

Patti Smith, Founder, Executive Director of  LHL

Patti Smith, RN
Founder/Executive Director

Hello, I am Patti Smith, the Founder/Executive Director of Living Her Legacy.  I initiated this nonprofit as a project for a local women’s’ organization that I belonged to in 2014. This project idea was a culmination of my years of varied experiences. September 2020, Living Her Legacy became a 501c3 nonprofit.

My professional life began as a Registered Nurse working in several Northern Colorado hospitals, as a Long-Term Care Consultant and Educator for fifteen years, which included twelve years introducing high school students from ten local high schools to the Healthcare Professions at Front Range Community College/Larimer Campus.

My next twenty-year endeavor as a sole proprietor was as a Health Education Consultant. During my business years, I worked with school districts all over Colorado creating programs like I used to teach that introduce their students to the Healthcare Professions and creating community connections within their healthcare community.  During this time, I was blessed to meet young women from all backgrounds.  In one school a class I taught had ten young ladies who had been raised in refugee camps and had come to the US with their families. My love of supporting young women from underserved populations grew out of my life experiences, teaching and meeting students from all over Colorado. 

In 1990, I joined the military and served in Saudi Arabia during the first Persian Gulf War as a Registered Nurse. I learned about girls/women living in that culture.  I have been a member of several women's organizations over the years and most recently ten years in the Zonta Club of Fort Collins. Zonta is a highly regarded successful international organization that supports girls/women locally and globally to get an education, be healthy and live safely without fear of experiencing violence.

In 2013, I had an idea from viewing a public art exhibition in Denver, Colorado. This art exhibition recognized women and men who contributed to our state and was created by a woman artist.  The exhibition was so moving and I was greatly inspired-- I thought ”if they can do this in their city, why can't we do this in our community and focus on recognizing women's accomplishments?” And the Living Her Legacy art/education exhibit concept was born.

I have been on a journey of daily perseverance, determination and gratitude for the individuals I have met along the way over this seven-year journey of love. I am thankful for all of the support received to help me and those on our team to keep moving forward. Our movement is Recognizing Women. Inspiring Girls.  We have been approved to create the first historic, public art/education exhibition in our community. We are blessed to bring the impact of these accomplished women to our community members and guests who visit  Old Town Square, Fort Collins.  There are also programs that include Role Model Art Worship, specifically designed for fifth-grade girls, and a Girl Leaders Program for sixteen through nineteen-year-old girls and their mothers..  These programs focus is for the the underserved population.

Patti Smith, RN

Founder/Executive Director

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Patti Smith, Founder, Executive Director of  LHL
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