Following a visit to West Africa, “Sistah Nandi” Christine Dixon-Smith, Executive/Artistic Director, founded Sankofa Kuumba in 1986 in the Bellevue Square Housing Project’s community center in Hartford’s North End. Sistah Nandi and a handful of artists established arts-based programs at local churches, recreation centers an public schools in order to bring the story of the Journey from Africa to the United States to life. Sankofa operated for over 14 years providing multicultural visual and performance arts presentations and performances before its incorporation in 2000 as a 501(c)3, community-based, nonprofit, arts and cultural organization.
In 1997, Sankofa began offering focused arts education programming in the Hartford public schools. This led to the development of our exceptional and well receive programs: The Creative You in 2003, and Teens & Technology in 2006. These programs integrate core competencies with the arts in a dynamic environment for in-school children and youth. Today The Creative You has evolved as Sankofa has worked closely with Hartford Public Schools’ arts in the classroom initiative, Hartford Performs. Continuing extensive professional development, extraordinary and well trained Sankofa teaching artists of color are developing programs that integrate Common Core State Standards and working with K-8 children at 12 Hartford Performs Hartford public schools in the classroom during the day.
Sankofa has received numerous awards, including the President’s Humanitarian Council Award in 1997 and, in 2007, the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism’s Excellence in Arts Education Award as well as the Greater Hartford Arts Council Excellence in Arts Award.