Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin and Harlem School of the Arts new Board Chair Charles J. Hamilton, Jr. recently announced the Harlem School of the Arts will reopen after a three-week closure. Over the past several weeks, the Department of Cultural Affairs engaged the school, local officials and potential donors in a planning, fundraising and reorganization effort. A special fund-raising campaign yielded $1 million from four foundations that will allow music, dance, theater and visual art classes – all suspended on April 3, 2010 – to resume on Saturday, April 24, 2010. The Mayor was also joined at the Harlem School of Arts for the announcement by City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Council Member Inez Dickens, Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis M. Walcott, Harlem School of the Arts Parent Association President Ephraim Emmanuel, and Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now Executive Director Madeline Nelson-Small.
“For 45 years, the Harlem School of the Arts has been an integral part of Harlem’s and the City’s cultural community, providing invaluable arts education to thousands of students,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “With the help of dedicated New Yorkers, private funders and arts education advocates working together with the City and local officials, the Harlem School of the Arts is now on a path to a new and sustainable future, and that’s great news for everyone.”
“I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Levin, parents and advocates for their commitment to keep this gem in Harlem open for the thousands of students it serves,” said Speaker Quinn. “Its mission to provide an arts education not only enhances the cultural experience but it also helps students to achieve academic excellence. I commend the diligent and collaborative work of everyone involved in saving this school.”
“I am pleased to be able to develop a strong and stable future for this incredibly important organization,” said Harlem School of the Arts new Board Chair Charles J. Hamilton, Jr. “I look forward to working with the children and families of Harlem School of the Arts alongside my new colleagues on the Board and the stake holders who pledged their support.”
“Harlem School of the Arts has played a vital role in the cultural life of this city,” said new Board Member Mary Schmidt Campbell. “I look forward to working to ensure that HSA continues to provide the highest quality arts instruction to its students.”
“I am delighted that our youth will continue to have access to the stimulating courses and performances so characteristic of HSA’s programming,” said Council Member Jackson. “This renaissance is the result of collaboration by government, community and school leadership. I am confident this teamwork will permit a stabilized HSA to flourish.”
“I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg, my Council colleagues, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and community leaders for working together to preserve this important and historic cultural institution,” said Council Member Inez Dickens. “The new board has its work cut out for it and I know that with continued collaboration it will strive to keep this school’s doors open for years to come and enrich future generations of students in arts education.”
“The Harlem School of the Arts is an important cultural institution, and I am very pleased that the Bloomberg Administration, the City Council, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and local advocates have been able to work together to save the invaluable contributions that the School will now be able to continue to provide,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.
“A well-rounded education is about much more than reading, writing and arithmetic – it’s about encouraging the creativity and imaginations of our children,” said Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. “That’s why Harlem School of the Arts is so important to the city’s cultural community. It means access to art, music, dance and theater for children who otherwise may not get those opportunities. I’m thrilled that we were able to work together to ensure that this institution stays open, so that our children can continue to be inspired, create and enrich the cultural fabric of this great city.”
“When I heard the Harlem School of the Arts was in urgent need of support, I just had to help,” said musician and philanthropist Herb Alpert of the Herb Albert Foundation. “The Arts are so incredibly important to the lives of our children; I hope my contribution will inspire others to support this important resource for the arts.”
The planning, fundraising and reorganization effort over the past several weeks will allow classes to resume through the current semester and this summer’s program. The Harlem School of the Arts Board elected five new members: Charles J. Hamilton, Jr., Former Partner of the law firm Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, and currently Partner of the real estate development firm La Cite Development LLC.; Milton Irvin, Managing Director, UBS; Ephraim Emmanuel, President, Harlem School of the Arts Parents Association; Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean, NYU Tisch School of the Arts; Janice Savin Williams, Co-founder and Senior Principal of The Williams Capital Group L.P. Williams Capital.
An advisory group will work in conjunction with the new Board Members over the next weeks and months on a new sustainable vision for the school.
The Herb Alpert Foundation made a leadership gift of $500,000 to the school to stimulate fundraising efforts, and the Starr Foundation also contributed funds.