Harlem School Of The Arts 60th Anniversary Gala Honoring Founder Dorothy Maynor

April 10, 2024

In celebration of six decades of artistic excellence and community impact, Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) proudly announces its 60th Anniversary Gala, to be held on May 20th, 2024, at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City.

Following the gala programming, an afterparty will be hosted by Black Thought, lead MC of legendary performing group, The Roots, alongside Questlove, founding bandmember and renowned musician who will DJ for the remainder of evening.

The upcoming landmark event is dedicated to honoring the legacy of HSA’s founder, Dorothy Maynor, an internationally acclaimed concert soprano and a champion of arts education. As such, at this year’s gala, HSA will honor a distinguished group of individuals whose contributions have enriched the cultural landscape, including Nicole A. Avant, author and former Ambassador to the Bahamas, along with her parents Jacqueline & Clarence Avant, posthumously, who were trailblazers in philanthropy, the entertainment business and politics; Deborah Roberts, ABC News 20/20 co-anchor; Al Roker, weather anchor on NBC’s TODAY Show, and co-anchor of the 3rd Hour of TODAY (alongside son, Nicholas Roker); and Jennifer Jones Austin, American civil rights activist and the CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies and The Herb Alpert Foundation, led by Foundation president and HSA Executive Board member Rona Sebastian, a leading supporter of arts education nationally as well as the major funder of HSA since 2010.

“As we reflect on HSA’s 60 years of unwavering dedication to the transformative power of the arts, we stand in awe of the remarkable individuals who have embodied the spirit and vision of our beloved founder, Dorothy Maynor,” said James C. Horton, President of HSA. “We look forward to honoring those whose tireless efforts have echoed her legacy of uplifting underrepresented and underserved communities through the arts.”

Furthermore, to honor the enduring legacy of Jacqueline and Clarence Avant, HSA’s key supporter for the past 14 years, legendary trumpeter and philanthropist, Herb Alpert has generously established the Jacqueline and Clarence Avant Scholarship Fund, seeding it with a generous $500,000 donation. This significant contribution will help to close the financial gap for HSA’s families, ensuring that aspiring students and artists have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. It will not only break down barriers to entry but also open doors to a world of creative possibilities for generations to come.

“As the daughter of two extraordinary individuals who dedicated their lives to enriching the arts and culture landscape, I am moved by this recognition,” said Nicole Avant. “I extend my gratitude to Herb Alpert for his generous contributions to the Harlem School of the Arts and for cementing my parents’ impact on generations to come.”

As HSA marks this milestone anniversary, it reaffirms the institution’s commitment to empowering the next generation of artists and leaders to explore their talents, hone their skills, and pursue their dreams. To continue nurturing talent and building a brighter future, HSA invites friends, supporters, and advocates of the arts to join in commemorating this momentous occasion.

For more on the Harlem School of the Arts 60th Anniversary Gala taking place on May 20th at the Ziegfeld Ballroom, and to purchase tickets and tables visit www.hsanyc.org.

The 60th Anniversary Honorary Committee includes LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson, Tonya Lewis Lee and Spike Lee, Alexander Smalls, Kadir Nelson, Hank Willis Thomas, and Deborah Willis, HSA alumni Giancarlo Esposito, and Ray Chew.

Harlem School of the Arts

New York City’s premier community arts and youth development institution, the Harlem School of the Arts, the Herb Alpert Center has been uniquely positioned at the intersection of arts, community, education, and social justice, and through the transformational power of the arts, dedicated to bringing equity of opportunity to every student. The institution’s reputation for artistic rigor and excellence attracts students of diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds from the five New York City boroughs as well as Westchester County and the tri-state area, which includes Connecticut and New Jersey. HSA’s alumni and faculty are counted among the most talented leaders in the arts, and include Lenny Kravitz, Condola Rashad, and Hank Willis Thomas. 

Founded by concert soprano Dorothy Maynor 60 years ago, HSA has enriched the lives of tens of thousands of young people through world-class training in the arts. HSA offers its students the freedom to develop the artist and citizen within themselves in an environment that teaches discipline, stimulates creativity, builds self-confidence, and adds a dimension of beauty to their lives, empowering them to become creative thinkers and innovative leaders of tomorrow.

HSA’s programs are made possible in part by: The Herb Alpert Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, West Harlem Development Corporation, Ford Foundation, MetLife Foundation, NYSCA, DCA, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, The Pinkerton Foundation, The Edwin Caplin Foundation, The New York Community Trust, The Shubert Foundation, NEA, The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, Anna-Maria & Stephen Kellen Foundation, Chase, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Natalie Cole Foundation.

Photo credit: Dorothy Maynor.

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