The Harlem School of the Arts – Oct 2011 NonProfit Spotlight

Who is Harlem School of the Arts?

Founded in 1964 by internationally-acclaimed soprano Dorothy Maynor, The Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) has provided high caliber arts education and training in music, dance, theatre and visual art to over 50,000 young people and has transformed countless lives. Our goal is to empower youth mainly from under-served communities in Harlem, to find and develop the artist and citizen within themselves. Alumni include Tony Award-winning actors, celebrated operatic voices, world-traveled musicians, acclaimed artists, professional concert and commercial dancers, and others who cite HSA as the platform from which they launched successful careers in diverse fields. The school educates over 1,000 students each year through afterschool programs at its award-winning 37,000 square-foot facility, in-school programs held at partner schools, and community programs throughout Harlem and Upper Manhattan.

What is your mission?

The Harlem School of the Arts empowers young people through music, dance, theatre and visual arts.

What is your organization up to at the moment?

We’ve started two new programs this school year.

1.      Early Childhood Program - for our youngest students, HSA will offer for the first time ever early childhood classes, guided by expert faculty trained in providing very young children with an introduction to the arts. Youngsters will experience the joy of movement in baby samba, the use of color and materials in Wee art, and the world of music in Musical Discovery.

2.      Musical Theatre Program - as the only school in new York city providing quality arts education in four disciplines: music, dance, theatre, and visual arts, HSA is uniquely qualified to launch an innovative musical theatre program under the direction of Aubrey lynch II, former original cast member and associate Producer of Disney’s The Lion King.

Upcoming events:

1.      Tuesday, October 18: HSA Performs at the MillionTreesNYC 500K Tree-Planting Event.  Student Vocalist Busisiwe Zamisa performs "Colors of the Wind" by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz. Invited participants include HSA President & CEO, Yvette L. Campbell, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Actress Susan Sarandon, Singer/Actress Bette Midler, and Reverend Calvin O. Butts, Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church.

2.      Saturday, October 22: VH1 Save the Music Family Day Event.  HSA will participate and provide 17+ HSA faculty members who will help children to discover musical instruments.

3.      Monday, October 24: Our talented dance students perform at the 2011 Bessie: The New York Dance and Performance Awards! Hosted by Bebe Neuwirth, New York's most renowned award ceremony for dance and performance will take place at The Apollo Theater. Guest presenters include Charles Atlas, Carmen De Lavallade, Ralph Lemon, Sylvia Waters, Tere O'Connor, David White, and more.

4.      Saturday, October 29: HSA musician 10-year old prodigy Matthew Whitaker plays the Hammond B3 organ at the 20th Anniversary Jazz Loft Party

5.      Sunday, November 13: 50th anniversary of The Snowy Day, as well as Keats’s first museum exhibition, beautifully curated by The Jewish Museum to honor the full range of his work.  HSA will partner with the museum for their family day at the museum where our talented theatre and visual arts students will lead interactive activities for children and their families.

6.      October 2011 – June 2012: The HSA Family Enrichment Series will be free to the community and feature quality programming in all four disciplines throughout the year giving families the opportunity to be inspired by the arts.  As a highlight of the series, every Saturday at noon in our central Gathering Space, HSA will invite families with children of all ages to experience musical concerts, dance performances, theatre scenes, master classes, interactive art projects, storytelling, and more.  Students, guest artists, and faculty will participate in the series' calendar of events.  Special events like Celebrity Readings & Reflections and Living Legends & Ancestral Icons Exhibition will be announced.  The HSA Family Enrichment Series enables our facility to become a dynamic cultural community arts center with high-quality performances, workshops, lectures and exhibitions that attract families and visitors. Our goal is to inspire the community to become enriched by the presentation of extraordinary art in all its forms while bringing the heart of our building, HSA's Gathering Space, to life.

What makes your organization so unique in the non-profit space?

HAS stands unique among community arts institutions in New York City, as the sole provider of arts education, in four disciplines (music, dance, theater and visual arts), under one roof, in our award-winning 37,000 square foot facility.  The School’s reputation for artistic rigor and excellence attracts constituents from all five New York City boroughs, Westchester County and New Jersey.

How can CUP Members be involved?

  1. HSA Board Membership
  2. Mentoring
  3. Pro-bono PR & Marketing to raise brand awareness
  4. Volunteering

If interested in getting involved, please contact Rona Carr, Director, Human Resources and Administration at