Students at Harlem School of the Arts

Two and a half years ago the Harlem School of the Arts almost closed its doors forever, but thanks to a generous donation from the Herb Alpert Foundation,  the mayor of New York City and dedicated art advocates, the school was able to keep its doors open.

Started in the basement of the St. James Church in Harlem, and founded by concert singer Dorothy Maynor, Harlem School of the Arts serves more than 3,000 students a year in the disciplines of dance, music, theater and visual arts.

Laurence Fishburne and Gina Torres

The mood at this year’s benefit was a triumphant one. With the guidance and leadership of the current president and CEO, Yvette Campbell, over the last three years, HSA has raised money and cut their spending budget by 30 percent. Campbell is an accomplished Alvin Ailey dancer who graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in applied mathematics. It only seems natural with a background like hers that Yvette “Force of Nature” Campbell was capable of whipping the school back into shape.

Support from organizations like the Ford Foundation, ING  U.S. Foundation and GE Asset Management and alumni like Condola Rashad prove that the school has a big impact on the lives of the children in New York and people are taking notice.

Honorees included: Janice Savin Williams and Christopher Williams, Gina Torres and Laurence Fishburne and the Ford Foundation.

Harlem School of the Arts fall benefit (2)

Janice Savin Williams who is Vice Chair on the Board of Directors and Christopher Williams, both founders of the Williams Capital Group received the Leadership award.

Actors Gina Torres and Laurence Fishburne both received the Visionary Artist Award.

The Ford Foundation was honored with the Philanthropy Award.

Arturo O’Farrill, a Grammy Award-winning jazz musician, and current Artist in Residence at HSA, performed during the ceremony. The main attraction of the night came courtesy of performances from the children who currently attend HSA. The children sang, painted, and even assisted news anchor David Ushery as the master of ceremonies.

Click below to see pictures of the night’s festivities and attendees.