Art and Design High School
MANHATTAN NY 10019 Map
Art and Design High School
The High School of Art and Design trains students in various fields of commercial art including fashion design, cartooning, digital photography, graphic design, video production and architectural design. The school inspires a lot of loyalty among its students—there’s always a good showing of Art and Design kids at open houses and high school fairs—and teachers seem happy to be there.
Students take two periods of art every day in addition to their regular academic coursework. When they graduate, some go to art school, some to regular academic colleges and some straight to work. The academic courses offerings are hefty—Advanced Placement classes are offered in biology, chemistry, calculus and English—but the students are clearly most passionate about their art classes.
“We don’t just teach them how to paint, we teach them how to make a living,” said Elma Reingold, assistant principal for art and architecture. The school offers state Career and Technical Education (CTE) certificates in architectural design, cartooning and animation, and graphic design and illustration, which may lead to jobs directly after graduation. Students learn traditional drafting as well as Computer Assisted Design in the architecture program; they learn skills such as Photoshop in graphic design. Depending on their major, they may build a three-dimensional model city, create an animated video or comic book, or produce a complete fashion line. Students in fashion design learn to draw--not sew. “If you want to learn how to sew, this is not the place for you,” Reingold said.
The schools offers internships at architectural firms or fashion design firms, giving students a taste of what a career in their chosen field might be like. “It helps you get a job faster,” said a graphics design student. “It's just an amazing experience, like you live in the real world during your high school years.”
The academic classes are traditional, for the most part, with desks in rows and lessons based more on textbooks and lectures than on class discussions. While students have imaginative projects in their art classes as they build impressive portfolios of their work, the academic classes are mostly geared toward passing Regents exams. Parents say some teachers are inspiring, but at least a few should have retired long ago. The students who do the best are those who are able to advocate for themselves and who are able to seek out classes taught by the best teachers.
The college office is small: there is one guidance counselor who handles college admissions in addition to other duties. Many graduates go on to art schools such as the School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute or the Fashion Institute of Technology.
The High School of Art and Design is scheduled to move into a new building in the fall of 2012. Eric Strauss, formerly assistant principal at Brooklyn Tech, has lead Art and Design since September 2009. Parents say the parent coordinator, Janeen Johnson, is particularly accommodating and helpful.
Special education: A wide range of special education services are available, and one parent said the staff is supportive. The school offers Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS), collaborative team teaching (classes with two teachers) and self-contained classes.
Admissions: Students must submit a portfolio of their work and undergo a two-hour audition to be admitted. (Clara Hemphill, high school fair, open house, October 2011)