This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Harlem School of the Arts has become a cultural landmark for almost 6 decades. But like many institutions, the school was forced to close because of the pandemic. Now HSA is slowly beginning to welcome back students. The school’s president announced a soft reopening, and is paying tribute to its founder, Dorothy Maynor, at the renovated facility. 

Maynor is known for a soulful tone with a voice bigger than her less-than-5-foot stature. She broke down barriers becoming the first woman of color to perform at two Inaugurations, and the first person of color to serve on the board of the New York Metropolitan Opera. 

But she’s probably best known for her work throughout the community. Maynor founded Harlem School of the Arts during the civil rights movement in 1964 as a way to provide a creative outlet for the youth and to inspire artists.

In honor of Women’s History Month, HSA and the Harlem Chamber Players will celebrate the visionary artist and philanthropist at the newly renovated facilities on March 18.

The building has been transformed from a beautiful oasis into a transparent open space courtesy of iconic musician Herb Alpert and the Herb Alpert Foundation.

A new roof, glass front courtyard, touchless bathroom fixtures, and state mandated air filtration were also added all while maintaining acoustic integrity of the space.

HSA President Eric Pryor said they have begun a soft re-opening with small class sizes, in addition to virtual lessons while following COVID-19 safety measures.