Harlem School of the Arts

Founded in 1964 by Dorothy Maynor, the Harlem School of the Arts was created to provide professional arts instruction outside the public school system to talented students of all ages, races, and ethnicities. The School quickly became a model for voluntary community institutions around the country and exemplified the Fund’s growing interest in both arts education and strategies to supplement New York City’s overburdened public schools. Initially housed in Harlem’s St. James Presbyterian Church, by the 1970s the School sought permanent quarters. In 1973, the RBF contributed $100,000 to this capital campaign, in addition to funding given in the late 1960s for renovations to the temporary facility and planning for the new facility. The new building on St. Nicholas Avenue opened in 1979 and received a Bard Award for excellence in architecture and urban design.

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Browse the major events in the Rockefeller Brothers Fund's history