Mission & History


 Front of LaGuardia Arts building 
 LaGuardia Arts is a NYCDOE specialized high school.   We are the only DOE specialized high school in the arts.  Our dual-mission is at the core of our values.  

Our mission is to focus on professional preparation in conservatory arts and college preparatory academics.


A Brief History of LaGuardia Arts: A Tradition of Excellence in Arts Education (The “Fame” School) High School of Music & Art 

In 1936, New York City Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia established the High School of Music & Art (M&A).  Mayor LaGuardia's vision was to provide a place where NYC's most gifted public school students could pursue their talents in art or music while completing a full academic program.

In 1948, the School of Performing Arts (PA) was established.  PA provided performance training for those preparing for professional careers in dance, drama, or music.

In 1961, the two schools became one organization.  This was in anticipation of both schools consolidating into one building. 

In 1969, the Board of Education honored Mayor LaGuardia by naming the new building after him.  

High School of Performing Arts In 1972, the New York State Legislature established specialized high schools.  LaGuardia Arts is one of the original four receiving this designation.  The other are Bronx Science, Brooklyn Technical High School, and Stuyvesant. Every borough now has at least one specialized high school.  The Calandra-Hecht Bill provides for the “establishment and maintenance” of our school. The bill also established our admission criteria.  Candidates for admission to the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and the Arts and other schools which may be established with similar programs in the arts, shall be required to pass competitive examinations in music and/or the arts in addition to presenting evidence of satisfactory achievement.

In 1984, Music & Art and Performing Arts began the school year in their new facility at Lincoln Cent 
 er.  This marked the opening of The Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts opened.  We are a tribute to our two legacy schools.

NYC currently has nine specialized high schools.  LaGuardia Arts remains the sole specialized school for the arts. We were also the first in the nation to provide a free, publicly funded high school dedicated to the arts. Our model has been replicated in other urban school districts throughout the country.

Over the years, the school has earned an international reputation for excellence. Our graduates are the most vivid proof of the value of our specialized programs. Our alumni have distinguished themselves in virtually every field of endeavor, including the arts and sciences as well as public service and other professions.