• Jackie McLean - Founder

  • In loving memory of co-founder Cheryl Smith

Where the World of Art is Making a Difference for Greater Hartford

The Artists Collective was founded in 1970 by world renowned alto-saxophonist, composer, educator Jackie McLean as an interdisciplinary arts and cultural institution.

It is the only multi-arts organization of its kind emphasizing the cultural and artistic contributions of the African Diaspora. Programs expose students and the community to great and often overlooked artists of the past and present; offering the highest quality training in dance, theater, music and visual arts.

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Harvard University Project Co-Arts Report: "A Safe Haven"

The mission of the Artists Collective

Is to preserve and perpetuate the arts and culture of the African Diaspora by providing training in the performing and visual arts and by sponsoring special events. It is also the mission of the Collective to develop professional artists, to foster positive feelings of self-identity among peoples of the African Diaspora, and to raise public consciousness about the value of this culture.

What Our Students Say

“I started at the Artists Collective around the age of six. I took everything from martial arts to African drumming to tap dancing; I even participated in YABOO.  As an adult, I recognize that my involvement in the Artists Collective led me on a path that steered me away from the fate that many of my peers unfortunately met.”

Herb Virgo, Founder/Executive Director, Keney Park Sustainability Project
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