92nd Street Y is renaming its School of the Arts in honor of philanthropists Gilda and Henry Block, who have made a generous donation to support the School.
The Gilda and Henry Block School of the Arts at 92Y is comprised of the Art Center, which includes the Fine Arts & Design division (founded in 1930 as the Art Department), as well as the Ceramics Center (the first pottery classes were offered in 1947) and the Jewelry Center (beginning in the early 1970s); the School of Music (founded in 1917); and the Harkness Dance Center (founded in 1935).
The School is one of the largest community-based arts programs in the country. It serves more than 25,000 adults and children annually, with more than 400 classes each semester for all ages and all levels of expertise – from preschool to high school to senior adults, from enthusiastic amateurs to emerging professionals – all taught by a faculty of working professional artists. In addition to classes and individual instruction, the School offers exhibitions, online classes with internationally recognized artists, concerts, master classes, teacher training, and showcases for young and emerging artists. The School’s scholarship programs include the merit-based Recanati-Kaplan Program for Excellence in the Arts, as well as financial assistance for underserved populations.
Gilda and Henry Block are dedicated philanthropists in the areas of education, art, culture, and communal affairs. Active in the Jewish community, they recently established an endowment to create the Block/Kolker Center for Spiritual Arts at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.