On November 8, 1936, four art teachers began what was to become the High School of Art and Design, the School of Industrial Art, in a former Manhattan elementary school at 257 West 40th Street, which for a time had housed a WPAFederal Theatre Project locale. Initially, they used orange crates and plywood to make storage and desks. One of the co-founders, John B. Kenny, became principal in 1941. The school soon moved to a building on East 79th Street, the former annex to the Benjamin Franklin High School. In September 1960, the school changed its name to the High School of Art and Design and moved to 1075 Second Avenue in Sutton Place.
The 1936 school was first envisioned as a continuation school, that is, a school where children who had left school and gotten jobs attended for half days to continue their education, normally including vocational classes relevant to their current or possible future jobs. However it opened as a vocational high school, which students would attend full-time. The initial class consisted of 121 students and eight teachers.
On November 8, 2004, a rally was scheduled on the occasion of the school's 68th anniversary. This was to include a press conference at which increased support of the school would be urged. On November 8, 2006 the school celebrated its 70th anniversary. The office of the Mayor of New York issued a proclamation making November 8 "High School of Art and Design Day".
Academics and events
Applicants must take an entrance exam and present a portfolio to be accepted. Freshmen sample all art and design subjects before selecting a major for their sophomore, junior and senior years. Students at Art and Design receive two periods of art instruction per day, choosing from among eight art majors: cartooning, animation, architecture, graphic design, illustration, fashion, photography, and film/video.
Art and Design's Kenny Gallery, named for the school's founding principal John B. Kenny, hosts monthly art exhibits of student work. The gallery is open to the public. The theater was donated by the Friends of Art and Design (FAD).
Some members of the school's faculty have become notable for their creative work outside teaching. These include:
^Donadoni, Serena. "Hormonal pyrotechnics 101: Amy Heckerling on life, love and other high-school explosives."Metro Times. July 26, 2000. Accessed February 10, 2008. "Few filmmakers are as in touch with their inner teenager as Amy Heckerling, even if her own experience is diametrically opposed to those of the California teens in her best films. The Bronx native attended the High School of Art and Design in nearby Manhattan, where she focused on photography, and eventually moved on to New York University to study film."
^Davis, Michael (August 8, 2008). "Milestone: If You're Not There, You Just Won't Get It: Straight No Chaser". ComicMix. Quote: "I knew (we all knew) that Malcolm was a troubled soul and I’m sad to say that when he committed suicide a few years ago I was not that surprised. Denys and I would often talk about how to deal with Malcolm and reached out to him many times. That does little to erase the feeling that we somehow let our friend down."
^Le Marie, Nicole. "Hot on Prada's heels, the divine Marc Jacobs". The Independent. February 25, 2007. Accessed April 18, 2008. "Since graduating from the New York High School of Art and Design in 1981 and moving on to the Parsons School of Design, the New Yorker has gathered accolades galore and is now artistic director for Louis Vuitton."