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-

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 our students, They are building their capacity to offer additional class content within their visual arts program including printmaking, sewing and pattern-making. The visual arts teacher will receive professional development and intern at a local print shop. This will also expand opportunities for Gotham students, as increased connection between the school and local organizations can provide opportunities for student internships and jobs. 

Goal Two: Gotham Academy comes to the ETA partnership with very low-tech performance spaces. They are looking to be able to train students to produce and perform in both low-tech environments as well as more professional venues. The Technical Artisans Collective will be coming on board to advise on small additions to our technical cache in our 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 will also be some Professional Development workshops planned as well for any teachers and staff who want to support this process.

Arts Partnerships

Goal One: Teacher from Roundabout Theater Company will do costume design residency at Gotham. The visual arts teacher will be interning at The Shop by Drive By Press

Goal Two: Technical Artisans Collective will provide theatre design, technical instruction and support in the development of the school's performance capacity and two new theatre class strands.

Sustainability Plan

Goal One: Each year, the visual arts teacher will appoint a “Studio Manager” to manage each area of new curriculum (Printmaking, Sewing and Costume Design). These students will have room in their schedule for internship hours, which he will complete by assisting in classes and mentoring younger students. Each semester, there are seniors who are ahead in credits and can be appointed Studio Managers in order to encourage mentoring and student leadership.

Goal Two: They will be creating a Gotham Youth Theater company. In order to graduate students must have a role as actor, director, or tech producer for one year, which also means training one mentee to take their place. 

Four-Year Plan will be completed in Spring of 2020.