Dorothy Maynor's Vision Lives On At Harlem School of the Arts - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Friday, May 4, 2018

Dorothy Maynor's Vision Lives On At Harlem School of the Arts

Here are a few fun images from the packed Wakanda inspired Gala Event at Harlem School of the Arts (@HSA).

The event was hosted by musical actress Kissy Simmons, who played Nala on Broadway in Disney’s The Lion King.  This year's honorees are Margaret Anadu, Managing Director in the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs, and DJ Stormin' Norman, a social activist and creative community organizer who is a transplant from East London, now living in Harlem.

The Harlem School of the Arts was started in 1963, by Opera singer Dorothy Maynor.  The retired Maynor began working with her husband, the Rev. Shelby Rooks, at St. James Presbyterian Church at West 141st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem, where he was the pastor. That year she founded the Harlem School of the Arts (HSA). The school offered classes in music, ballet, modern dance, drama and art to poor children for minimal fees, sometimes as little as 50 cents a lesson, and lent or rented instruments to students who did not own one. Her dream grew to become HSA.

In her New York Times obituary for the late, great Dorothy Maynor, written by Wiliam Grimesfeb, on February 24, 1996, the visionary Maynor is quoted as saying this about why she founded Harlem School of the Arts:  

"In most schools, if you don't have a piano, you can't take lessons," Miss Maynor told one interviewer. "But we say, 'Good, you come here and practice.' " She served as executive director of the school until 1979 and also taught there. In 1977 she raised more than $2 million to build a new facility for the school, which originally served 20 children and now has more than 1,000 students.

"What I dream of is changing the image held by the children," she said on another occasion. "We've made them believe everything beautiful is outside the community. We would like them to make beauty in our community."

Miss Maynor's dream is alive and growing every single day at HSA.  The Wakanda evening event featured performances by the HSA Dance Ensemble, the Dorothy Maynor Singers, and the Legacy Arts Ensemble.  These groups reflect the world-class training in and exposure to the arts across multiple disciplines that HSA provides.  They also showcase the level of talent the organization is known for producing.

The annual fundraising event, one of two held during the year, aims at raising significant funds to be used for scholarships and financial aid.  These additional resources will enable deserving students, whose families cannot afford the cost of the arts programs provided at HSA, to receive the financial support necessary.  For many of these families, HSA is their only connection to the arts, which are often underfunded or cut from schools in low-income communities.

The evening began with a Cocktail Reception from 6:30 - 7:30 pm and continued with performances and finally a Wakanda Dance Party featuring the awesome sounds DJ Stormin' Norman's who provided the live music mix

Two local community establishments provided food and drinks for the event, the Caribbean and Latin-flavor inspired restaurant, Angel in Harlem and the resident Harlem Blue brewery.

Sponsors of this event include Goldman Sachs, Harlem Blue, Angel in Harlem and MWD Lifestyles.

Founded by opera singer Dorothy Maynor and nestled in beautiful Harlem has become one of New York City’s premier community arts institution, the Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) stands uniquely apart as the sole provider of arts education in four disciplines: music, dance, theatre, art & design, all within our award-winning 37,000 square foot facility.  

The School’s reputation for artistic rigor and excellence attracts students of diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds from all five New York City boroughs, including Westchester County, and the tristate area, which includes Connecticut and New Jersey. HSA’s alumni and faculty are counted among the most talented leaders in the arts.  

To learn more about the Harlem School of the Arts please visit

#kids #Harlem #dance #music #plays #theater #LionKing # Goldman Sachs #money #finance #India #Africa #ballet

DJ Stormin' Norman, a social activist and creative community organizer 
DJ Stormin' Norman, This year's honorees at HSA

No comments:

Post a Comment