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Middle School High School

Art and Design High School

Grades: 9-12
Staff Pick
231-249 East 56th Street
Manhattan NY 10019
Phone: 212-752-4340
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Our Insights

What’s Special

Strong commercial arts program; well-equipped, modern building

The Downside

Limited foreign language instruction

Art and Design is a vibrant school that offers hands-on training in commercial arts including animation, architecture, cartooning, fashion, film, graphic design, illustration and photography. Students participate in internships in the industry and earn professional certifications in a range of skills. The school, which attracts students from across the city, offers extra support for struggling learners and advanced and college level courses for high achievers.

Founded in 1936, Art and Design counts many prominent figures among its alumni including Tony Bennett, Harvey Fierstein, Calvin Klein and Art Spielgelman. Many of its teachers are working artists and the school's industry partners and network of loyal alumni provide a steady stream of internships and employment opportunities for students and graduates.

Manuel Urea, former school leader of Repertory Company High School, became principal in January, 2016 and quickly made some big changes. He switched the school from a triple to single session, so all students start and end their school day at the same time. He created a student council, and at students' request, agreed to let seniors who are in good academic standing leave the building for lunch. Teachers now have more time for professional development, collaboration and parent outreach; students have a say in school decisions and all are available at the same time to participate in after-school activities.

Walk into any of the art classes and you'll see talented and engaged students in action. We observed fashion students designing their ready-to-wear lines inspired by different periods in history. Illustration students refined digital collages inspired by the Renaissance artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. In a film class, students offered a scene-by-scene critique of a classmate's work.

Writing, oral presentations and technology are constants in all arts classes. Students craft artist statements and share their work and research with peers. The school's numerous computer labs are full each period with students crafting and editing work as well as converting their creations into digital form, an essential skill that artists need to market their work.

In academic classes there's a mix of teaching styles. Group work dominates in some, while teacher-directed lessons are the norm elsewhere. Regardless of the class structure, teachers build in time for student discussion and reflection.

English and history classes are scheduled back-to-back so teachers can coordinate lessons between the two subjects. For instance, while 11th-graders are reading 'The Crucible, in English--Arthur Miller's play about the Salem witch trials that's an allegory about McCarthyism--they're learning about McCarthyism in their United States history class.

For an arts-focused school, there's a nice range of science courses. In addition to traditional Regents courses in earth science, living environment, chemistry and physics there are elective courses in forensics as well as Advanced Placement (AP) options in chemistry, biology, environmental science and psychology.

Qualifying students may take courses at Hunter College and there's a nice range of AP courses. Spanish and French are taught in class settings for one year and after that students may continue their studies via online coursework.

Art and Design is housed on six floors of a contemporary building in midtown Manhattan that it shares with PS 59. There's a myriad of well-equipped art studios and academic classrooms, an expansive gymnasium, a fitness room equipped with cardio and weight-training equipment, and a bright and airy cafeteria adorned with a stain glass mural designed by Art Spiegelman.

All students have a prep class built into their schedule, which in the lower grades focuses on Regents exams and in the upper grades focuses on SAT and Advanced Placement exams. College and SAT prep classes are also offered on Saturdays.

After graduation, some students get jobs, but many choose to attend art schools such as Cooper Union, Parsons, Pratt, Rhode Island School of Design as well as CUNY and SUNY schools and private institutions.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT classes and SETSS.

ADMISSIONS: Open to students citywide. For admissions to all programs, students must audition and submit an art portfolio. Admissions decisions also take into account students' grades, test scores and record of lateness and attendance. (Laura Zingmond, October 2016; updated September 2018)

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School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2017-18 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
77% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
36% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
81% Citywide Average

From 2016-17 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
3% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
75% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
80% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
45% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
39% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
67% Citywide Average

From 2017 NY State Graduation Outcomes

How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
13% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2018-19 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
38% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From 2017-18 School Quality Guide

How many students with disabilities graduate in 4 years?
64% Citywide Average
How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
68% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

Architectural Design
Admissions Method: Audition
  • Attendance
  • Course Grades: Average (67-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (1.9-4.5), Math (1.6-4.5)
  • Audition
  • Portfolio of Student Work
Program Description:

Program includes study of structures, space, color, form, with a focus on hand drafting as well as software applications, architectural design, model making, sketching, and AutoCAD. Seniors complete city planning design project to address current zoning issues. Students visit museums and professional studios, design showrooms and hear from professionals. Student projects are critiqued and reviewed by industry partners in order to provide students with specific, relevant industry feedback.

Commercial Art and Design
Admissions Method: Audition
  • Attendance
  • Course Grades: Average (74-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (2.3-4.5), Math (1.9-4.5)
  • Audition
  • Portfolio of Student Work
Program Description:

9th grade: Design Foundations. 10th grade: select CTE major from Cartooning, Animation, Fashion/Costume Design, Illustration, Graphic Design, Digital Photography; gain introduction to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Technical assessment required for CTE certification. Upper grade students can apply for AP courses in Illustration, Cartooning, and Graphic Design. All portfolios are evaluated by professionals. Opportunities for museum visits, rotating student exhibitions, and visiting artists.

Film/Video Production
Admissions Method: Audition
  • Attendance
  • Course Grades: Average (69-100)
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts (2.2-4.5), Math (1.9-4.5)
  • Audition
  • Portfolio of Student Work
Program Description:

Our comprehensive, three-year, studio-based curriculum immerses students in the pre-production, production, and post-production process. Through hands-on filmmaking, students learn film theory, film analysis, scriptwriting, editing in Adobe Premiere Pro, and gain industry-based technical and theoretical knowledge. Students have access to state-of-the-art equipment, participate in contests and film festivals, and meet visiting artists and professionals.

Digital Arts
Admissions Method: Audition
  • Attendance
  • Course Grades: Average
  • Standardized Test Scores: English Language Arts, Math
  • Audition
  • Portfolio of Student Work
Program Description:

9th grade: Design Foundations. 10th grade: select CTE major from Animation, Digital Photography and Graphic Design. Technical assessment required for CTE certification. Upper grade students can apply for AP courses in Graphic Design. All digital portfolios are evaluated by industry professionals. Opportunities to learn from industry professionals during in class presentations and workshops. Visits to various design studios. Opportunities for job shadowing, mentorship and internships.


Language Courses

French, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Art History, AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Environmental Science, AP Psychology, AP Studio Art: 2-D Design, AP Studio Art: Drawing, AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP U.S. History, AP World History


Boys PSAL teams

Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Fencing, Handball, Soccer, Volleyball

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Table Tennis, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on the NYCDOE’s School Finder
NYC Department of Education: School Finder

Contact & Location


Midtown (District 2)
Trains: 4 Line, 5 Line, N Line, R Line, W Line to 59th St-Lexington Ave; 6 Line to 51st St; E Line, M Line to Lexington Ave-53rd St
Buses: M1, M101, M102, M103, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M3, M31, M4, M5, M50, M57, Q101, Q32, Q60


Manuel Urena
Parent Coordinator

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the Midtown East Campus with one other school
Metal detectors?

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