WHDC Grantees

Harlem School of the Arts

May 7, 2013

The Harlem School of the Arts has taught tens of thousands of young people in music, theater, dance and visual art since it was founded by internationally-acclaimed soprano Dorothy Maynor in 1964.

The school educates children from toddlers to high schoolers in visual arts, dance, music and theater. The school’s mission is to offer children and young adults the freedom to find and develop the artist, student and citizen within themselves in an environment that teaches discipline, stimulates creativity, builds self-confidence and adds a dimension of beauty to their lives.

The school aims to empower its students — 1,000 served annually — to become creative thinkers and innovative leaders.

In addition, 500 city students benefit from HSA’s educational outreach program that places experienced teaching artists in New York City schools. The program also connects with community centers, housing developments and nursing homes. Campbell wants to grow the 37,000-square-foot school to its capacity of 1,500 students.


The arts change lives... We want to build the future artists of tomorrow. I want to grow the school in an economic way that helps the community. I’m about bringing art back into the community, back to the kids.
— Yvette L. Campbell, HSA’s President & CEO


Campbell took the helm in 2011, turning around the school after it went bankrupt and closed in 2010. Under her leadership, famed trumpeter, record executive and philanthropist Herb Alpert gave the school more than $6 million, and the building was renamed the Herb Alpert Center in March, 2013.

“We are the only location on the east coast that receives his money,” Campbell said.

Campbell, a former Alvin Ailey dancer, has a background that is a perfect mix of business and art. She not only has a degree in applied mathematics, she also created The Ailey Extension.

The parents of HSA students say that their children work harder in school due to the practice and repetition in their classes at HSA. HSA has produced some amazing talent: one 11-year-old is blind and has learned to play the piano by ear.

The school also gives its students the opportunity to see professional dance companies practice and hosts professional artists, such as dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp and Afro Latin jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill, who perform and teach at the school.


Harlem is the place to be! There is nothing like this. We are a community arts facility and we love our kids.
— Yvette L. Campbell, HSA’s President & CEO


HSA earned a grant from West Harlem Local Development Corporation in March to provide financial aid and scholarships to 50 West Harlem students and families and training in music, dance, theater, visual arts and musical theater. The grant will also provide outreach to the community, bringing residents into HAS and increasing enrollment.


Contact Information

Harlem School of the Arts
645 St. Nicholas Ave.
New York, NY 10030
P: 212.926.4100
E: communications@hsanyc.org