Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) envisions a world where ALL
children have access to a quality arts education, empowering them to become the creative thinkers and innovative leaders of tomorrow.
Harlem School of the Arts enriches the lives of young people and their families through world-class training in and exposure to the arts across multiple disciplines in an environment that emphasizes rigorous training, stimulates creativity, builds self-confidence, and adds a dimension of beauty to their lives.
In 1964, internationally acclaimed concert soprano Dorothy Maynor, brought a gift to Harlem: her fervent belief that world-class training in the arts stimulates the child, strengthens the family and gives pride of ownership to a community. She opened Harlem School of the Arts in the basement of the St. James Presbyterian Church in Harlem at a time when the community suffered severe physical blight, high levels of poverty, and offered few cultural resources for its young people. From toddlers to adults, the students who came through its doors developed an invaluable sense of purpose and focus, whether or not they pursued professional careers in the artsIn May of 1979, under the leadership of Maynor’s handpicked
successor, legendary opera singer Betty Allen, HSA opened its
state-of-the-art 37,000 square foot, award-winning facility nestled
at the base of historic Hamilton Heights. Along with the Studio
Museum in Harlem, Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Apollo Theater, HSA became one of the pioneering cultural institutions whose robust presence uptown became a linchpin of Harlem’s renewal.
Harlem School of the Arts, at The Herb Alpert Center, is thriving.
It annually serves approximately 2,500 young people from across the greater New York Metro area. From its humble beginnings with
20 children taking piano lessons in the basement of St. James
Presbyterian Church, HSA has blossomed into an extraordinary
cultural institution that has served more than 55,000 students over the last 53 years, many of whom directly credit Harlem School of the Arts for having changed their lives.
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