First Lady Michelle Obama presents The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award to Artists Collective student, Lauren Horn, and Founding Executive Director, Dollie McLean, in the East Room of the White House. Members of the Youth Jazz Orchestra performed with tap dancer, alumni, instructor Corey Hutchins and dance student, Lauren Horn. Lauren has been a student of the Artists Collective since the age of 3.

2015 Summer Program finale' performance
"Songs in the Key of Life"
Teen African Piragramic Dance

Black Wall Street
Jackie McLean Memorial celebration 2015

Yaboo Rites of Passage Council of Elders and Initiates.

2014 Artists Collective, Capital Workforce Partners Summer Program pastel portraits

Wynton Marsalis with Youth Jazz Orchestra students after his benefit concert for musicians of New Orleans held at the Collective.

Steel Pan Student Performance

The great Jack DeJonette sharing knowledge with drum and saxophone members of the Jackie McLean Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Martial Arts Workshop

NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan with The Steve Khun Trio in concert

2015 Summer Program Finale' Performance
"Songs in the Key of Life" Children African Dance

Group standing with  Josh Groban Artists Collective with Josh Groban, Manchester, New Hampshire as one of 42 organizations nationally to receive a donation from his Find your Light Foundation

Student Events and Programs 2016

Fall Workshops begin September 20
New Seeds Music Showcase Friday, March 18
6:00 pm
Young Urban Voices Saturday, March 19
2:00 pm
Piano Recitals May 12, 13
6:00 pm
Music Showcase Saturday, May 21
10:00 am
Yaboo Rite of Passage Ceremony Tuesday June 7
6:30 pm
Student Showcase FestivalTuesday, June 7
6:30 pm
Saturday, June 11
2:00 pm
Capital Workforce Partners Summer Youth Employment Training Program, Rites of Passage and Neighborhood Studios Summer Program July 5 - August 12
O-H-A-T-A-C (Open House At The Artists Collective) Sunday, November 20
2:00 pm
Pre-Kwanzaa / Christmas Celebration Saturday, December 17
2:00 - 5:00 pm

Jackie McLean International Arts Festival 2016

Music in the Atrium
A new music series showcasing Greater Hartford's diverse, talented groups representing many genres of music. Mix, mingle, enjoy!

XY ELi Band
Friday, February 26
6:00 - 10:00pm

XY Eli Williams, originally from Savannah, Ga., began his musical journey at his grandfather's church, before moving to Hartford in 1967. Since the 1960's, Eli has played in many bands. In addition to leading his own band, he also teaches blues guitar and history of the blues. Eli is preserving and perpetuating one of America's original art forms. His music is deeply grounded in the tradition of the blues, inspired by the architects of the music such as: Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, and the Masters that came before. Eli's repertoire also pays homage to contemporary artists like Jimi Hendrix, who came from the blues idiom and expanded it to another level, inspiring the next generation of musicians in America and around the world.

Call for more information (860) 527-3205.

Ray Gonzalez & His Orchestra
Friday, March 11
6:00 - 10:00pm

Ray Gonzalez is a musician dedicated in mind, body and soul to the creation of music. A renowned musician and Latin music pioneer in Connecticut, Ray was born in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. For over 40 years, Ray has been highly regarded as a musician, arranger, composer and educator. He has shared the stage and recorded with many Latin music pioneers, such as Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri and Johnny Pacheco to name a few. In addition to leading his own band, Mr. Gonzalez has been commissioned to arrange and compose for many New England ensembles and orchestras. In 2007, Guakía, Inc., named its annual international festival The Ray Gonzalez Latin Jazz & Salsa Festival, in recognition of his pioneering work in New England.

Reservations suggested. Call for more information (860) 527-3205.

Jackie McLean Memorial Celebration Larry Willis Quintet
Saturday, May 21
8:00 p.m.
$20 advance general
$25 at the door

Larry Willis was born in Harlem, New York. As a jazz pianist and composer, he has performed in a wide range of styles.

Surprisingly, he entered music not as a pianist but as a voice major, first at New York’s High School of Music and Art for gifted students, then at the Manhattan School of Music. During his senior year in high school, at 17, he had his first recording date, a classical gig with the Music and Arts Choral Ensemble, singing at Copland Opera, conducted by no less then Leonard Bernstein. But something even more important than that happened to Larry Willis at the beginning of that senior year. He started playing the piano-no lessons, no teacher, just figuring it out by himself. By the end of the winter, he was playing his first professional gigs in a jazz trio with two of his classmates, Al Foster on drums and Eddie Gomez on bass. Larry switched from voice to music theory after entering Manhattan School of Music, where he began running head-on into the all too evident barriers facing black musicians in the classical world. A positive result was Larry’s interest in jazz was turning into a passion. Fellow student, Hugh Masekela, introduced Larry to John Mehegan, the legendary New York jazz piano teacher, for what would be his first lessons ever. By the end of that year, at age 19, Larry was playing regularly with Jackie McLean, the great alto saxophone innovator, who would eventually give him his first recording date-Right Now, on Blue Note. The album featured two compositions that would become a continuing stream of Larry Willis compositions.

Since then, Larry Willis has played on more than 300 records. He’s played with almost every stellar jazz musician of the modern era, including Dizzy Gillespie, Lee Morgan, Woody Shaw, Hugh Masekela, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Stan Getz, Art Blakey, Carmen McRae, and Shirley Horn. Recognized by his peers as an extraordinary, versatile pianist, his repertoire also includes rock and pop, having spent 7 years with Blood, Sweat and Tears, and having performed with many African, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban groups. This concert will be a homecoming for not only Larry Willis but also members of this special quintet, including Gary Bartz, alto saxophone, Steve Davis, trombone, with Billy Williams, drums, and Blake Meister on bass.

Tickets available at the Artists Collective (860) 527-3205 and at Integrity-n-Music, 506 Silas Deane Hwy., Wethersfield, CT.

Evelyn W. Preston Memorial Trust Fund

Les Nubians

Saturday, September 24 @ 8:00 p.m.
Free Community Concert

The women of Les Nubians were shaped by many influences. Les Nubians has its genesis in a small town in the South West region of France, where the Paris-born sisters, Helene and Celia Faussart, lived as teenagers after returning from several years’ residence with their parents in the African country of Chad. With a French father and a Cameroonian mother, Helene and Celia experienced cultural dissonance in the rural Bordeaux, region. After their father’s death, Celia joined her sister in Bordeaux and they helped found a cultural collective, Les Nouveaux Griots, a “griot” being a traditional African storyteller and historian, all with the goal of increasing awareness of African and urban cultures. A chance meeting with jazz legend, Abbey Lincoln, who encouraged the sisters to sing, led to the formation of Les Nubians. They have become one of the most successful French-language musical groups in the U.S., best known for their Billboard R&B Single Makeda from their Grammy-nominated album, Princesses Nubiennes. Les Nubians were the 1999 Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards winners for Best New Artist, Group or Duo and received two NAACP Image Awards in 2000. Their innovative mix of hip hop, neo soul, African and Afropean genres have made them international treasures and ambassadors for cross cultural artistic expression.

Free passes for Les Nubians in concert are available in advance and at the door.

Seating is on a first come first serve basis, there is no reserved seating.

Call (860) 527-3205 for more information.

Music in the Atrium
A new music series showcasing Greater Hartford's diverse, talented groups representing many genres of music. Mix, mingle, enjoy!

Ed Fast & Conga-Bop

Friday, October 21
6:00 - 10:00 pm

As the percussion playing leader of Conga-Bop, the hard-swinging Latin jazz ensemble, Ed Fast has become a celebrated figure in Greater Hartford through his band's many well-received appearances that reach beyond Connecticut. Besides being a bandleader, composer, arranger and much-in-demand utility player, Ed Fast is a multi-instrumentalist who not only plays drums but also timbales, congas and, far too rarely, vibes. As a versatile, Hartt School-trained percussionist, Ed is also right at home sitting-in on occasion with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, touring with premier Broadway road shows throughout Russia, China, Japan and South Korea, or gigging in backup bands at Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun accompanying big-name, casino favorites like Aretha Franklin and Paul Anka.

Call for more information (860) 527-3205.

Patricia Thompson with Touch

Friday, November 25
6:00 - 10:00 pm

Patricia Thompson, a native of Hartford, began singing at the age of 10. As an original member of Tony Harrington & Touch for nearly 30 years; Ms. Thompson can be heard on backup vocals with Melba Moore and Xavier. As a soloist, she has been compared to the likes of Patti LaBelle.

Call for more information (860) 527-3205.

Note: Advance ticket prices are honored until the day of the performance, excluding Sunday, until 2:00 p.m.

Click here for information about previous Master Music
and Dance Performances, along with artist comments