Art and Design High School

Grades 9-12
Staff Pick
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What’s Special

Strong commercial arts program; well-equipped, modern building

The Downside

Limited foreign language instruction

Our Review

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. Parents and students we spoke with say the changes have had a positive impact on the school's culture. Teachers now have more time for professional development, collaboration and parent outreach; students feel they 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 youll 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 eight 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, said Urea.

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, we saw a lot of 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 Millers play about the Salem witch trials that's an allegory about McCarthyism--they're learning about McCarthyism in their United States history class.

Qualifying students may take courses at Hunter College as well as Advanced Placement courses in English, biology, chemistry, calculus, World and United States history. Spanish is taught in a class setting for one year and after that students may take an online course.

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 and liberal arts colleges including, CUNY, SUNY and private institutions.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are ICT classes and SETSS.

ADMISSIONS: Open to students citywide. Students audition and submit an art portfolio for one of three programs: Architectural Design, Commercial Art (includes photography, animation, fashion and graphic design) and Film/Video productions. Admissions decisions also take into account students' grades, test scores and record of lateness and attendance. (Laura Zingmond, October 2016)

About the students

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

About the school

Shared campus?
This school shares the Midtown East Campus with one other school
Uniforms required?
Metal detectors?
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average


Average daily attendance
87% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
37% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
85% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
57% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.8 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
80% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
80% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
74% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
97% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Arts offerings

This school has 0 dedicated spaces for the arts.
This school has 42 licensed arts teacher in Visual arts (part-time) and Music

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
54% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
71% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

How many students graduate in 4 years?
77% Citywide Average
How many graduates earn Advanced Regents diplomas?
11% Citywide Average
How many students drop out?
10% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for college?

How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
36% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
37% Citywide Average
How many graduate and enter college within 18 months?
60% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many English language learners graduate in 4 years?
66% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
68% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
59% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data

Programs and Admissions

Architectural Design
Admissions Method: Audition
Program Description

Program includes study of structures, space, color, form, with a focus on hand drafting, architectural design, model making, sketching, and AutoCAD. Seniors complete city planning design project to address current zoning issues, visit museums and professional studios, and hear from visiting 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
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 meeting visiting artists.

Film/Video Production
Admissions Method: Audition
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.


Language Courses

French, Spanish

Advanced Placement (AP) courses

AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, 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

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231-249 East 56th Street
Manhattan NY 10019
Midtown (District 2)
Trains: 4, 5, 6, N, Q, R to Lexington Ave-59 St; 6, E, M to Lexington Ave-53 St; F to Lexington Ave-63 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, 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


Manuel Urena
Parent Coordinator
Janeen Johnson

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