In 1970, after meeting Artists Collective Founder, Jackie McLean, and Dollie McLean, Founding Executive Director, Cheryl Smith was invited to become a co-founder of the Artists Collective.
Ms. Smith taught dance and later became the Director of the Dance Department. Ten years prior to her appointment in 2005, Ms. Smith functioned in a leadership position as Program Director.
Studying dance with Phyllis Stone and Angela Bowen-Peters, Cheryl went on to become the Director of Dance at Westledge School in Simsbury. She also taught at the Watkinson School in West Hartford, the University of Connecticut, Trinity College, as well as numerous public schools.
As an early exponent of African Dance in Hartford and under the tutelage of“Aca” Lee Thompson, Artists Collective’s master choreographer, she has been a role model to generations of Hartford dancers of all ages and the inspiration for the development of numerous dance ensembles now performing and teaching in Greater Hartford. A native of Connecticut, Ms. Smith has taught and performed throughout the state since the 1960’s.
Ms. Smith was appointed to Associate Director in April 2005.
In her position as Associate Director, Ms. Smith’s duties continue to include artistic administration and management functions of the day-to-day operations of the Artists Collective. She continues to inspire hundreds of Greater Hartford youth and adults and is an integral part of the leadership at the Artists Collective.
Cheryl Smith has received many community awards including most recently, The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs “Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award,” Distinguished Service for Dance Education from the Connecticut Dance Alliance, Trinity College Dance Department Pioneers Award, Saint Martins Episcopal Church Distinguished Service Award, and the Urban League’s Black History Month Imprints Award.