Strong commercial arts program; solid academics; well-equipped, modern building
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 strong academics including advanced and college level courses as well as support for students needing extra help.
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.
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 their English class (The Crucible is a play about the Salem witch trials that's an allegory about McCarthyism) they're studying McCarthyism in their United States history class.
Qualifying students may take courses at Hunter College and there's an assortment of Advanced Placement (AP) courses. For an arts-focused school, there's a nice range of science offerings. In addition to traditional Regents courses in earth science, living environment, chemistry and physics there are elective courses in forensics as well as several AP options.
Students may study Spanish or French for up to two years.
Extra-curricular activities abound in the arts and other areas. In addition to sports teams, there are a range clubs. A student-run advertising agency designs marketing campaigns for social justice and environmental-focused organizations. There’s also a film studies summer internship program at NYU. About 200 students qualify for National Honors Society.
Tutoring is offered after school and there's a mentoring program for students stuggling in their classes or with feeling comfortable at school. AP and SAT prep classes are offered on Saturdays.
Maximillian Re-Sugiura, a former assistant principal of High School for Environmental Studies became principal in August 2019 after Manuel Ureña left to become principal of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis High School.
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.
After graduation, some students get jobs in the art industry, 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. (Laura Zingmond, October 2016; updated via interview, October 2019)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Computer ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign LanguageNot offered in 2019-20
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
MusicNot offered in 2019-20
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
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
9th grade: Design Foundations 10th grade: Select CTE major from Cartooning, Fashion/Costume Design or Illustration. Technical assessments are required for CTE certification. Upper grade students can apply for AP courses in Illustration or Cartooning. All portfolios are evaluated by professionals. This program offers opportunities for internships. Museum visits, rotating student exhibitions, and visiting industry professionals are all included in this program.
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.
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.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP United States History, AP Chemistry, AP Drawing, AP Biology, AP 2-D Art and Design, AP Calculus AB, AP World History: Modern
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Fencing, Handball, Soccer, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Table Tennis, Volleyball
Contact & Location
231-249 East 56th Street
Manhattan NY 10019
Trains: , , , , to 59th St-Lexington Ave; to 51st St; , to Lexington Ave-53rd St
Buses: BM1, BM2, BM3, BM4, BM5, BxM1, BxM10, BxM11, BxM18, BxM3, BxM4, BxM6, BxM7, BxM8, BxM9, M1, M101, M102, M103, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M3, M31, M4, M5, M50, M57, Q101, Q32, Q60, QM1, QM10, QM12, QM15, QM16, QM17, QM18, QM2, QM20, QM21, QM24, QM3, QM31, QM32, QM34, QM35, QM36, QM4, QM40, QM42, QM44, QM5, QM6, X10, X10B, X12, X14, X17, X17J, X2, X22, X22A, X27, X28, X30, X31, X37, X38, X42, X5, X63, X64, X68
This school shares the Midtown East Campus with one other school
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Manhattan, NY 10019
Manhattan, NY 10019