African American News

Celebrating 60 Years of Artistic Excellence: Harlem School of the Arts Gala Honors Legacy and Contributions

HARLEM, N.Y. – The Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) is set to commemorate six decades of artistic prowess and community enrichment with a grand gala on May 20th at the prestigious Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City. The event will honor the legacy of HSA’s founder, Dorothy Maynor, and recognize individuals whose contributions have left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape.

Among the distinguished honorees are Nicole A. Avant, along with her parents Jacqueline & Clarence Avant, posthumously, Deborah Roberts, Al Roker and his son Nicholas Albert Roker, and Jennifer Jones Austin. These individuals, through their remarkable achievements and tireless efforts, have echoed Maynor’s vision of uplifting underrepresented and underserved communities through the arts.

In a heartfelt gesture to honor the enduring legacy of Jacqueline and Clarence Avant, Herb Alpert, legendary trumpeter and philanthropist, has generously established the Jacqueline and Clarence Avant Scholarship Fund with a remarkable $500,000 donation. This fund aims to provide aspiring students and artists with the necessary resources and opportunities to pursue their dreams in the arts.

Nicole Avant, deeply touched by the recognition of her parents’ impact, expressed her gratitude to Herb Alpert for his generous contributions to HSA, ensuring her parents’ legacy will continue to inspire future generations.

The gala, promising an evening of celebration and reflection, will be followed by an afterparty hosted by Black Thought and Questlove, iconic figures in the music industry. This milestone event reaffirms HSA’s commitment to empowering the next generation of artists and leaders, inviting friends, supporters, and advocates of the arts to join in commemorating this significant achievement.


The Harlem School of the Arts has been a beacon of artistic excellence for sixty years, touching the lives of countless individuals and communities. This gala not only celebrates the institution’s rich history but also underscores the importance of arts education in nurturing talent and fostering creativity. The establishment of the Jacqueline and Clarence Avant Scholarship Fund highlights the transformative power of philanthropy in breaking down barriers and providing opportunities for aspiring artists. As we celebrate this milestone, let us recognize the invaluable role of organizations like HSA in shaping a more vibrant and inclusive society through the arts.

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