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 current CD, Love Bug! received a Parents’ Choice Recommended award, and made the first cut in the 59th Annual Grammy Award competition.
Her 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 and 2019, Val continues to perform and compose music designed for the 2 to 10 year old set. As a ventriloquist, Val performs for family and educational events in Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York City, California, Brussels (Belgium), and Cap d'Antibes (France).
As a Jazz chanteuse Val works with The Silverbacks Jazz quartet in Baltimore, MD.