For its “effectiveness in developing creativity and fostering academic success by engaging young people in the arts and humanities,” The Artists Collective of Hartford, was recognized with a prestigious national award by First Lady Michelle Obama at a White House ceremony on Wednesday, October 20.
Chosen from a pool of more than 400 nominations and 50 finalists, The Artists Collective’s program, “Training in the Arts and Culture of the African Diaspora,” was one of 15 after-school and out-of-school programs across the country to receive the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (formerly, the Coming Up Taller Award), the highest honor such programs can receive in the United States. The awards are administered by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The award honors community-based arts and humanities programs that make a marked difference in the lives of their participants by improving academic scores and graduation rates, enhancing life skills, and developing positive relationships with peers and adults.
The Artists Collective was recognized by Mrs. Obama for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to improve academic achievement, encourage admissions to higher education, and/or advanced training programs, promote self-discipline, teamwork, and leadership skills; and foster respect/responsibility for self and others.
Founded in 1970 by internationally renowned alto saxophonist, composer and educator Jackie McLean, with his wife Dollie McLean, the Artists Collective. was created to preserve and perpetuate the art and culture of the African Diaspora Over the past 40 years, the organization has engaged more than 50,000 young people in dance, music, drama visual arts, martial arts. and Skills for living training programs.
Accepting the award from Mrs. Obama on behalf of Artists Collective was Lauren Horn, a 14-year-old participant in the program since the age of three, who was accompanied to the White House by Founding Executive Director Dollie McLean.