Harlem School of the Arts Set to Reopen With New Board and $1 Million

By Nicole Bode on April 21, 2010 3:10pm 

New Harlem School of the Arts Board Member, Mary Schmidt Campbell, attends a 2009 Tisch School of the Arts gala with director Spike Lee.
New Harlem School of the Arts Board Member, Mary Schmidt Campbell, attends a 2009 Tisch School of the Arts gala with director Spike Lee.
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AP Photo/Andy Kropa

By Nicole Bode

DNAinfo Senior Editor

HARLEM — Nearly a month after deepening financial problems forced it to close its doors, the Harlem School of the Arts is re-opening this weekend thanks to a $1 million infusion of donor funds and a new board that includes the dean of the Tisch School of the Arts.

The fundraising boost came about with the help of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and a collection of philanthropic donors, officials announced Wednesday.

“For 45 years, the Harlem School of the Arts has been an integral part of Harlem’s and the City’s cultural community, providing invaluable arts education to thousands of students,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement before a press conference at the St. Nicholas Avenue school.

“With the help of dedicated New Yorkers, private funders and arts education advocates working together with the City and local officials, the Harlem School of the Arts is now on a path to a new and sustainable future, and that’s great news for everyone,” Bloomberg added.

The school suspended its music, dance, theater and visual art classes on April 3rd, after the then-board revealed their financial straits were much worse than originally believed.

Parents and critics were angered at what they called a bait-and-switch by the school’s leadership, after the school accepted tuition money despite the chance that they would not stay open to serve the students.

The sweeping new changes in the board include a new chairman, Charles Hamilton Jr., described by the New York Times as the managing director for strategy and investment at La Cité Development LLC; and new board member Mary Schmidt Campbell, the dean of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Hamilton Jr. said in a statement that he was “pleased to be able to develop a strong and stable future for this incredibly important organization.”

He added: “I look forward to working with the children and families of Harlem School of the Arts alongside my new colleagues on the Board and the stake holders who pledged their support.”

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