Arts programs in NYC Private Schools still suffer from the kind of cutbacks and budgetary problems that the public schools have. Arts centered schools are not as commonly discussed, but one, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, is renewing its publicity with the opening of its new facilities.
Writer Chalres J. Gans reported on the school’s opening and its meaning for Tony Bennett.
Bennett and his wife, Susan Benedetto (his given family name), an educator, will be attending Wednesday’s opening of the new home of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. At a time when school districts across the country are cutting arts programs, the opening caps off a decade-long campaign to develop a public-private partnership to create a model arts high school.
Bennett chose to name the school after his mentor, who helped launch his career that spans seven decades.
Though the school originally opened in 2001, using facilities in other schools and areas, it isn’t until now that they have a physical school to call their own.
The New York City Board of Education put up $75 million to construct the school. Bennett and his wife formed the non-profit Exploring the Arts organization that raised an additional $4.5 million to upgrade the facilities to state-of-the-art calibre. Bennett and k.d. lang will be performing at ETA’s annual gala on Sept. 21 to support the school’s programming and arts initiatives in other schools
A week before opening day, several dozen student and parent volunteers were busy helping unpack equipment to get the classrooms ready. The facilities include an open-air rooftop stage with a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline; two black-box theatres; and the 800-seat Tony Bennett Concert Hall, with an orchestra pit and stage large enough to handle an opera production.
The NYC arts programs are a vital part of a child’s education and the opening of the school should be celebrated for its part in that process.