Talented students; great support from arts organizations & doors open to the community
Still working to make academics as engaging for students as the arts
There is a well-deserved buzz about Brooklyn High School of Arts (“Brooklyn Arts”), a conservatory-style arts school, which offers solid academics on top of exciting opportunities for students to learn and perform outside their classrooms. Enrollment is up significantly in recent years, attendance is good and the graduation rate is high, including for students with special needs. An ambitious administration is eager to bring the school on par with the city's premiere art high schools.
Brooklyn Arts takes advantage of its location in downtown Brooklyn to offer frequent field trips to the nearby Brooklyn Academy of Music and other theaters and museums. One group performed for the cast of the hit Broadway show Hamilton. Drama students were chosen to participate in the Shubert Foundation High School Theatre Festival; the jazz band and choir have been award-winners in state competitions. A visual arts student's work was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum; her teacher was recognized as one of the five best art teachers in city schools.
Students may major in vocal music, instrumental music, dance, drama, or visual arts. Unlike some other arts-focused high schools, students may take classes outside their majors. For example, all students are invited to audition for the school’s musical and those who are selected take a musical theater class in addition to attending rehearsals after school. All students take at least two arts classes a day; by senior year some students may take as many as four.
Impressive student artwork lines the hallway gallery, contrasting with 1930's WPA murals in the handsome, historic building. A "gallery" class helps students prepare a portfolio to present for admission to arts colleges.
Daniel Vecchiano, a former assistant principal at Brooklyn Arts, became principal of the school in 2016 after longtime leader Margaret Lacey-Berman left.
In response to students' complaints that their classes aren’t challenging, Vechhiano and staff have worked to strengthen academic offerings. To increase student engagement, most classrooms are now set up for students to work collaboratively and take part in class discussions. There are honors classes in all academic subjects and the school offers over 10 Advanced Placement courses, some as early as 10th grade.
Teachers also weave in arts with academics. In dance classes students learn anatomy and kinesiology, the study of physical of activity. Drama students read the Greek play Medea in English class at the same time that they perform it in their theater class. They created a historical play based on videos they filmed and edited of family and neighbors discussing their memories of key events from the 1960s.
An internship program offers learning opportunities at a range of companies such as architectural, construction and engineering firms. Students conduct science experiments and learn about the environment during the school’s annual overnight trip to Frost Valley YMCA.
Singer Tony Bennett's foundation, Exploring the Arts offers paid student internships and donates professional lighting. The school also gets support from the Carnegie Hall Foundation, Cooper Union, and Parsons School of Design.
Brooklyn Arts welcomes the surrounding community: The public is invited to free live-in-HD Met opera screenings in the elegant auditorium. There is a monthly lecture series that features a range of speakers including professional actors, dancers, musicians, journalists and scientists.
Students who maintain good grades and attendance earn perks through the school’s VIP program, such as being allowed to leave the building for lunch.
Some graduates attend a range of arts schools such as Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons School of Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology and Berklee College of Music. Others go to CUNY and SUNY schools as well as a broad range of private colleges including some highly competitive schools such as Columbia, Barnard, NYU and Rice University.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The graduation rate for students with special needs far outpaces the citywide averages. Brooklyn Arts offers self-contained and ICT (integrated co-teaching) classes.
ADMISSIONS: Admissions is based on an audition and review of academic records. Open to students citywide; priority for 50 percent of seats goes to Brooklyn students and residents. (Via interviews and DOE reports, Pamela Wheaton, January 2017; updated November 2019, Laura Zingmond)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Advanced Foreign Language
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
The Visual Arts Studio is a rigorous four year curriculum that develops the student's technical abilities, critical-thinking skills and personal voice. Students have received honors like the Scholastic Art Awards, exhibition awards at the MOMA, admission to pre-college programs at local schools and scholarships for college. Courses include Foundational Art, Advanced Drawing, Painting, Mixed Media, Sculpture, Advanced Gallery, and Senior Portfolio Preparation, as well as Digital Art and Design.
Students pursue a rigorous program of solo and ensemble playing as well as studying basic music theory and music history. Students have the opportunity to work closely with top professional musicians in the New York scene through our various partnerships. Classical, contemporary and "pop" literature, as well as world music, is studied and performed. Offerings include String Orchestra, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Guitar, and Digital Music, as well as Music Theory and Composition courses.
The studio offers dance students the opportunity to develop skills in professional venues with professional teaching artists. Students gain performance skills and understanding of the techniques of Lester Horton and Martha Graham. Students develop their talents in classical ballet, contemporary and modern dance. Technique classes include ballet, modern, and jazz. Two years of specialty classes in choreography, composition, pointe, college portfolio, and audition classes are offered as well.
The Vocal Studio is an intensive study of music theory, vocal production and performance, and utilizes a repertoire that includes classical, jazz, gospel, contemporary, and folk. We offer multiple levels of choir, exploring all styles from traditional choral greats to pop music of today. Choirs perform regularly at professional venues throughout New York City. The Select Choir studies and performs NYSSMA level five or six pieces, and participates annually in the NYSSMA competition.
The studio provides theater students with rigorous, differentiated and sequential high quality theater training in order to reach their full potential in college and careers in theater and other fields. Daily classes are provided by professional theater artists. Students have the opportunity to explore a vast spectrum of theater work, including acting, voice and diction, movement, theater history, set design, directing and creating original work. Students perform on Broadway stages citywide.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
French, Mandarin, Spanish
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP Seminar, AP English Language and Composition, AP Biology, AP Human Geography, AP Research, AP Environmental Science, AP Computer Science Principles, AP English Literature and Composition, AP United States History, AP World History: Modern, AP Psychology
Boys PSAL teams
Girls PSAL teams
Contact & Location
345 Dean Street
Brooklyn NY 11217
Trains: , , , , , , , , to Atlantic Ave-Barclays Center; to Hoyt & Schermerhorn; to Lafayette Ave; to Fulton St
Buses: B103, B25, B26, B37, B38, B41, B45, B52, B63, B65, B67
This school shares the building with MS 447