Harlem School of the Arts Reopens (For Now) - NBC New York

Harlem School of the Arts Reopens (For Now)

The show goes on



    Inspiring Stories of Hope
    The beloved school gets a reprieve ... for now.

    Dozens of children walked with smiles and a certain beat in their steps on Saturday morning. 

     "I am very happy, I'm excited," exclaimed 8-year-old Sade Thomas.

    One hand grasped a parent and the other often held an instrument. In some cases, you could catch a glimpse of dance shoes and tights.

    The children were going somewhere they hadn't been able to go for three weeks. It was school -- but not the kind with reading, writing and arithmetic. They were going back to the Harlem School of the Arts.

    Keith Taylor, a parent, called it a "rebirth for the community."  After all, a 45-year tradition almost ended.

    On April 1, the school's board announced there was no more money. The school closed. Parents blamed mismanagement, but that didn't change the reality that the school was broke.

    City leaders worked with people in the community to find a solution. The announcement came on Wednesday.  Four donors ponied up $1 million to allow the school to finish the semester and make it through the summer program.

    Sustainability is now in the hands of a new board of directors, headed by attorney Charles Hamilton, and includes leaders like the dean of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. 

    The current interim Executive Director John Corwin says mismanagement is partially to blame for the school's money problems, along with overall declining support for the arts.

    Tuition is relatively inexpensive and covers only a small portion of the budget, so through the summer the school will likely push for more donations.

    "There is an opportunity to rebuild the Harlem School of the Arts and we're excited for the opportunity," Corwin said.

    So the show will go on, but not without some lasting impressions of what almost happened and how, without the proper care, it could happen again.

    As music instructor Sonelius Smith pointed out, "when you nearly lose something you realize the value of it."