Gotham Professional Arts Academy

Gotham Professional Arts Academy

School Description

Gotham Professional Arts Academy is a small, arts-themed, college-preparatory high school with strong community values located right here in Bedford Stuyvesant.  Gotham Academy is unique in many ways:

Gotham Academy is a member of the New York Performance Standards Consortium, the group of schools across NY State that have a Regents waiver:  Students at Consortium Schools graduate by completing five performance-based tasks (PBATs).  Instead of passing five standardized Regents exams, students write research papers, create original science experiments and solve complex applied math problems.  Most students consider these alternative graduation projects more challenging than the Regents.  Graduates still receive a Regents diploma.

We are a small Community Learning School, located on just one floor of the PS 40 building.  Everyone knows everyone by name.  We have an advisory system to support students on their path to graduation, and to ensure that students can access academic support when they need it.Our classes are centered on an inquiry approach to teaching and learning: students read and write and discuss and debate on their path to mastery.  All graduation projects require an oral presentation in front of panel of experts, ensuring that all students develop strong communication skills.

We have a diverse student body that embraces all types, especially students interested in the arts.

We use the city as our classroom and take frequent fieldwork trips as part of our classes.

Partnerships with cultural organizations like the Whitney Museum, Bailey’s Café, and Reel Works provide students with extracurricular opportunities to expand their arts education.

Gotham Professional Arts Academy is a limited non-screened public school.  No portfolio or audition is required
for admission, but all students must complete an arts project as part of their graduation requirements.

Arts Leadership Team

Alex White, principal-

Rob Michelin, assistant principal-

Allison Brown, Community School Director-

Sasha Dobos-Czarnocha, theater teacher-

Andrew Willgress,  art teacher-

Four-Year Plan Goals

Goal One: To build capacity in the existing visual arts curriculum to offer additional class content including printmaking, pattern-making and sewing. 

Goal Two: To build capacity for the theater department to produce (pre)professional standard performances with an emphasis on Technical Support and an end goal of a self-reliant youth theater company as a graduation requirement.


Goal One: In order to build on extracurricular learning and increase the number of post-secondary education and career opportunities for students, Gotham builds their capacity to offer additional class content within their visual arts program including printmaking, sewing and pattern-making. The visual arts teacher receives professional development and interns at a local print shop. This also expands opportunities for Gotham students, as increased connections between the school and local organizations provide opportunities for student internships and jobs. 

Goal Two: Gotham Academy comes to the ETA partnership with very low-tech performance spaces. In order to train students to produce and perform in both low-tech environments as well as more professional venues Gotham hires Technical Artisans Collective to advise on small additions to the technical cache in the black box as well as to train and create a tech crew of students through design/tech classes/mentorship in which the students learn how to use traditional theatrical equipment and classes in which the students could learn how to design for more low-tech environments (clip lights, flashlights, projectors, use of cellphones and simple green screen techniques, etc), as well as professional venues. There is some Professional Development workshops as well for any teachers and staff who want to support this process.

Arts Partnerships

Goal One: Roundabout Theater Company for costume design residency 

Goal Two: Technical Artisans Collective provides theatre design, technical instruction and support in the development of the school's performance capacity and a new technical theatre class strand.


Goal One: Gotham's visual arts department will have an expanded curriculum that will offer printmaking, sewing and pattern-making that align with professional standards thus increasing the number of post-secondary education and career opportunities for students. Offering sewing and pattern-making will allow for interdepartmental collaboration with the Theatre department.

Goal Two: Gotham will have a self-reliant theatre company whereby performances will be of (pre)professional quality and each aspect of the production (acting, technical support and costume design) is created by students.

Four-Year Plan 2016-2020.