In 1936, New York City Mayor Fiorello
H. LaGuardia founded the High School of Music &
Art in order to provide a facility where the most gifted
and talented public school students of New York City
could pursue their talents in art or music, while also
completing a full academic program of instruction. In
1948, the School of Performing Arts was created to provide
training in performance skills to students who wished
to prepare for professional careers in dance, music
The two schools became one organization
in 1961, in anticipation of a move to a single building
at Lincoln Center designed to meet the specialized needs
of those gifted and talented youngsters chosen to attend.
In 1969, the Board of Education honored
Mayor LaGuardia by naming the new building at Lincoln
Center after him and in September 1984, after more than
20 years of waiting, Music & Art and Performing
Arts came together in their new and magnificent facility,
complete with a state-of-the-art concert hall and Theatre.
LaGuardia Arts is one of the original four specialized high schools in New York City, as established by the New York State Legislature in 1972. The Hecht Calandra Act provides for the “establishment and maintenance” of this specialized school of the arts, as well as Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Technical High School. This act also defines the admissions criteria for LaGuardia Arts. Students are admitted on the basis of potential and achievement, as demonstrated in a demanding and competitive audition, and a review of their academic records. Currently there are nine specialized high schools in New York City, and LaGuardia Arts remains the sole specialized school of the arts.
It is important to note that LaGuardia
Arts was the first school in the nation to provide a
free, publicly funded program for students with unique
talents in the arts. This model has been replicated
in most major cities throughout the country.
Over the years, the school has earned
an international reputation for excellence, the accomplishments
of our graduates serving as the most vivid proof of
the value and worth of our specialized programs of instruction.
Our alumni have distinguished themselves in virtually
every field of endeavor, including the arts and sciences
as well as public service and other professions.
For more about Mayor LaGuardia and
LaGuardia Arts, click