THE ARTISTS COLLECTIVE Inc.
1200 Albany Ave.
Established in 1970 by world renowned alto saxophonist and educator Jackie McLean and his wife Dollie McLean, an actress, dancer and administrator, the Artists Collective has made a world of difference to hundreds of children in Hartford's poorest neighborhoods. Dreamchild of the McLeans and cofounders bassist Paul Brown, dancer Cheryl Smith and visual artist lonis Martin, the Collective provides an exciting and positive alternative for urban young people.
The Collective continues to offer the highest quality training in the performing arts-dance, theater, music and visual arts. In addition, the "Skills For Living" and educational workshops are an integral component of the After School Program, the ~Rite of Passage-Yaboo Ceremony and the Summer Youth Employment Training program. Since its inception the Artists Collective has trained thousands of students in all arts disciplines and has touched their lives and those of their families. Through its ongoing presentation of great African American artist the Collective provides positive adult role models for the next generation of artists. Jazz greats, new emerging musicians, nationally recognized dance and theater companies, and gospel artists, as well as visual arts and lectures by highly acclaimed historians comprise the Collective's special events programs. These programs and performances also afford the entire Greater Hartford region the opportunity to learn about and enjoy the arts and cultural traditions of people of African descent.
Jackie McLean knows first hand that the world of art can make a world of difference. For young men like McLean in Harlem and other Black communities in the 1940's, the abundance of heroin and hard drugs which flowed into this country in the period immediately following World War II became a stumbling block to achievements of many dreams especially for Black males not only in poor communities. Through his art, he achieved his dreams, and music also allowed him to see that he must use his great, God-given talent to help others in similar circumstances.