Since 1964, the Harlem School of the Arts has been enriching the lives of children and families in the metropolitan area with outstanding programs in music, dance, drama and visual arts. Under its founder, legendary singer Dorothy Maynor, and her equally legendary successor, the mezzo-soprano Betty Allen, the school—which is now located in an award winning building—offers a wide array of classes for children and adults of all abilities. The school has continued to serve as a vital community resource, presenting concerts, lectures, performances, exhibitions, and faculty and student recitals.
After-school and Saturday programs include instruction in musical instruments, voice, dance, drama and the visual arts for all community members. Classes are tailored to the needs of students, from beginner to advanced, and from age 4 to senior citizen. The school's College Prep Program offers assistance to young people ages 13 to 19 in preparing for auditions for colleges and universities offering majors in music, dance, drama and visual arts. The program, which requires an audition, is given in the afternoon and evening. Master Voice is a vocal class offered to advanced pre-professional and professional students. Artscape is the school's six-week summer session of arts and recreation. WeeArts, for children ages 4 to 7, and Crescendo, for children ages 8 to 11, are both offered as half-day or full-day programs.
Initiated in 1978, the Opportunities for Learning in the Arts (OLA) program was designed to nurture and stimulate a lifelong interest in the arts by offering young people, in Pre-Kindergarten to grade 12, multicultural programming that intergrates instruction in the performing and visual arts with core academic curriculum. Programs include one-day lecture performances, in-school residencies, early childhood programs, school-based after-school programs and on-site programs.