FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR
Jane Sawyer is the founder and director of Cook County Arts Collective and Assistant Director of Community Engagement at Hyde Park School of Dance. She is a graduate of The Ailey School Professional Division in New York and holds a BA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago. Ms Sawyer is a teaching artist, committed to developing curriculum that expands the reach of dance education and allows mindful movement to transform and heal individuals in non-traditional settings, focusing on members of our community who are currently incarcerated or have been involved with the Illinois prison system.
From 2018 through the COVID-driven shut-down of external programming at the Cook County Department of Corrections, Ms Sawyer has developed and facilitated arts curriculum for female detainees within the THRIVE tier, the jail’s internal drug recovery program. In that effort, she had led dozens of individual classes, and facilitated master classes and performances by companies including Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Ayodele Drum & Dance, and by individual artists including Paige Fraser, Joshua Ishmon, and Sam Trump.
Through the Cook County Arts Collective, Ms Sawyer continues to plan and deliver virtual and in person movement experiences for returning citizens and residents of the Grace House residential program. She has collaborated with professional dance companies to create dance workshops for system involved youth.
Ms Sawyer is certified in Horton and Graham-based modern technique, and teaches these as well as classical ballet technique and Dunham-based modern. In 2018, she served as a Rehearsal Assistant for the Northwestern University Dance Program and as a Senior Choreography Mentor at ChiArts. In 2018 she was selected to attend the BOLD Leadership Conference of the Urban Bush Women in Manhattan.
Ms. Sawyer trained and performed with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater between 2011-2017, and has performed with a number of professional companies, among them Winifred Hahn & Dancers, Ardent Dance Company, and Tyego Dance Project.
board of directors
Allyson Ratliff is Associate Artistic Director and Director of Outreach at the Hyde Park School of Dance, where she also serves as a senior ballet instructor. She has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Cook County Arts Collective since its founding in 2018.
Ms. Ratliff has a Master of Arts Management degree with a focus on performing arts. She has studied dance at the University of Arizona in Tucson and the Washington Ballet in Washington DC. Ms. Ratliff has taught at the School of Ballet Chicago, where she instructed classes in ballet and creative movement and served as an integral part of Ballet Chicago's inner city outreach program. She has also served as Ballet Mistress for Expressions Dance Theatre and Rhythm Street in Washington DC.
Patricia Cloud serves as the administrator of the Cook County Arts Collective. She has over 30 years of experience in management and project support and has served as a professional librarian at Northwestern University, The Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago, and The Center for Research Libraries. She has worked as a survey researcher and in management and project support at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC at the University of Chicago) and at Mathematica Policy research.
Ms. Cloud has served since 2011 as a regular volunteer at the Cook County Department of Corrections, leading teams conducting worship at Division 8RTU and as a volunteer with Chicago Votes in registering detained voters and assisting in the conduct of absentee voting by detainees.
Ms. Sawyer is a teaching and featured performing artist for the Cook County Arts Collective. A graduate of The Ailey School's Professional Division, she holds a B.A in Human Development and Learning from UIC’s College of Education. She worked extensively with early learners in several roles at the Chicago Children’s Museum and as a faculty member at the Hyde Park School of Dance. She is a certified Pilates instructor, and teaches Pilates for adults through the Hyde Park School of Dance and for private clients as well. firstname.lastname@example.org