The Art Connection was established in 1995 by Fay Chandler, a painter and sculptor working in Boston since the early 1970s.  As Fay considered what to do with some of her inventory of work, she became convinced that the best result would be transferring it to interested social service organizations in the community that have no funds for purchasing art.

As she made plans for a retrospective exhibition of her work at the Boston Center for the Arts, Fay decided to invite a number of diverse local social service organizations to attend the exhibition and to select pieces that would be donated to them if they were not purchased by the end of the exhibition. Encouraged by the level of community interest in the distribution of her work after the retrospective exhibit, Fay continued to consult with other artists and with community organizations promoting the arts about possible ways to expand the program. The program grew as founding directors recognized a demand for expanding public access to the visual arts and from their ability to build a unique program to meet that need. The Art Connection reaches out to a diverse audience and has become a model in other cities including New York City and Washington, DC.