The Former School of Performing Arts
Backstory and Context
The Former School of Performing Arts building was designed by C.B.J. Snyder, superintendent of school buildings for the New York City Board of Education. It was constructed in 1893-1894, and served as Public School 67. In 1937, Dr. Franklin Keller, principal of the New York Metropolitan Vocational High School, found a group of boys skipping class to play music in his school's boiler room. He decided to found the School of Performing Arts, which opened at the former Public School 67 location in 1948. Dance, drama, and music were offered along with academic education. The school produced many famous performers, including Liza Minelli, Barbara Streisand, Al Pacino, Suzanne Pleshette, Ben Vereen, and Melissa Manchester. It was declared a landmark in 1982. Two years later, the school merged with the High School of Music and Art and moved to 108 Amsterdam Avenue. A new school for immigrant students learning English, Liberty High School, moved into the building at 120 West 46th Street.
Four years later, on February 13, 1988, a five-alarm fire
destroyed the top four floors of the six-story building, as well as half of the
roof. More than two hundred firefighters were on the scene, as well as many
Liberty High School teachers. The building now houses Jacqueline Kennedy
Onassis High School.
Former School of Performing Arts
Designated Landmark New York City
Built in 1893—94 as public school 67, this Romanesque Revival style building was designed by C.B.J. Snyder, Superintendent of School Buildings for the New York City Board of Education. From 1948 to 1984 it was the School of Performing Arts, founded by Principal Dr. Franklin J. Keller, his faculty and an advisory commission of leading professionals in dance, drama and music. This innovative school offered professional training combined with academic education.
New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation 1998
"Former School of Performing Arts." The Historical Marker Database. Accessed Web, 5/6/17. http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?MarkerID=57241.