The Legendary Harlem School Of The Arts To Renovate Harlem Campus

A Harlem institution that has offered children’s art classes for more than five decades will begin work in August on a year-long renovation project that’s expected to cost $9.5 million.

The Harlem School of the Arts will completely transform its 37,000-square-foot building on St. Nicholas Avenue near West 141st Street after receiving a gift from philanthropist and artist Herb Alpert and his wife Lani Hall Alpert. The gift will fully fund the renovation, school officials announced.

The Alperts have been major backers of the school since 2010. With the new gift, the total amount donated to the school through the Herb Alpert Foundation increases to about $17 million.

“As artists, we know how important it is for children to have opportunities that allow them to immerse themselves in music, art, dance, and theater,”

“As artists, we know how important it is for children to have opportunities that allow them to immerse themselves in music, art, dance, and theater,” Alpert said in a statement.

About 3,000 children participate in Harlem School of the Arts classes each year, school officials said. The school offers children from a life range of backgrounds instruction in fields such as instrumental music, visual art, dance, and theater.

About 3,000 children participate in Harlem School of the Arts classes each year, school officials said. The school offers children from a life range of backgrounds instruction in fields such as instrumental music, visual art, dance, and theater. The current facility is equipped with three dance studios, numerous music rooms, visual art studios, and a state-of-the-art media lab, school executives said.

Most of the renovation will be put toward a complete transformation of the building’s exterior. Architecture firm the Imrey Studio has been tapped to converting the Brutalist-style campus from a red-brick building to one composed of glass and steel. The renovation will also involve a new main gallery space, improvements to art spaces and upgrades to make the building more energy efficient.

School executives are calling the renovation “The Renaissance Project” and expect it to be the most ambitious set of improvements at the school since its current St. Nicholas Avenue building was first constructed. The Harlem School of the Arts was founded in 1964 by Dorothy Maynor in the basement of the St. James Presbyterian Church with only 20 students.

“The building should be seen as a space that invites people in,” he says. “It has always been an oasis on the inside, but that has not generally been known,” Eric Pryor, president of the Harlem School of the Arts, said in a statement. “The community needs to see who we are and know that we are committed to providing cultural programming for everyone.”

Photo credit: HSA 50th anniversary photo.

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