Grantee Spotlight: Queen Ann Nzinga Center

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Every month the Arts Council spotlights a grantee to showcase the amazing impact your United Arts Campaign contributions have on the community and beyond. This month’s spotlight is on the Queen Ann Nzinga Center. Read our previous grantee spotlights

Queen Ann Nzinga Center aims to foster children’s development by providing them with opportunities to connect within a community of peers and mentors, discover and hone their individual talents, and achieve success in a collaborative environment that celebrates diversity.  They are a non-profit organization located in New Britain, Connecticut named after a prominent 15th century African queen known for her sharp wit and intelligence. The center focuses on youth programming, an annual series of concerts and events and a professional music group.

Promoting positive youth development among a diverse group of children is a core value of the organization’s youth programming, which includes “Watoto”, “Pride” and the “Male Mentor Program”. The Watoto program utilizes the arts and Kwanzaa teachings to cultivate a healthy self-image. The Pride program aims to work with girls between the ages of 7 through 17 to encourage personal growth and development via arts and humanities activities. Similar to Pride, the Male Mentor Program is lead by male mentors and focuses on a wide variety of topics, including gender- specific issues. All three programs are designed to build self-esteem, enhance life skills and foster creativity in a supportive environment that celebrates diversity and community.

Queen Ann Nzinga Center was a 2015 recipient of the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Hartford Events Grant for their summer African Diaspora concert, held on July 25, 2015. The aim of the concert was to entertain, educate and build awareness through multiculturalism and music.  With music rooted in African influences, the audience enjoyed a rich blend of traditional and contemporary songs with positive messages. Other annual seasonal events include the Women’s History Celebration (held in March), Hispanic Heritage Celebration (typically held in September and October) and the energetic Kwanzaa Celebration (held in December and January). Most performances and rehearsals occur at the well-known and historically rich “Trinity on Main” theater.

Executive Director Dayna Snell has been involved with Queen Ann Nzinga Center for the last 24 years. Her work with the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families inspired her to create Queen Ann Nzinga Center and the organization has steadily grown since. In addition to her leadership role, she is a member of “Nzinga’s Daughters”, the center’s professional musical group.  Composed of an ensemble of passionate women, Nzinga’s Daughters share their highly evident musical talents through local and international performances.

Mark your calendars for their next upcoming event: an Open House on September 12, 2015 from 1-4 p.m. where parents and children can mingle for an afternoon of fun and to learn more about their programming.

Volunteer Opportunity: Queen Ann Nzinga Center is looking for a part time Office Administrator (10-15 hrs/week). A more detailed description can be found here.

For more information, videos, pictures and sound clips from Queen Ann Nzinga Center, visit:

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