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About Academy of Arts and Civic Engagement

Academy of Arts and Civic Engagement (ACE) is an after-school program for high school scholars that prepares them for careers in the arts. Scholars gain career-ready skills, real-world experience, and a network of professional contacts.

Inspired by the academic approach at many colleges, ACE unlocks a learning experience based on a scholar’s “major” (or focus area). Scholars enjoy an immersive experience — learning from industry professionals, pursuing real-world projects, and leveraging internship and networking opportunities.

ACE also offers a range of additional services to ensure scholars excel in their academic careers and beyond.

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Éveil Mental: Mental Awakening 2022

Scholars in HCZ's Academy of Arts and Civic Engagement presented fashion, STEM, music, art, dance, and literary projects at their end-of-season showcase, Éveil Mental: Mental Awakening 2022.

Focus Areas

Academy of Arts and Civic Engagement offers the following "majors" or focus areas.

Vocal Performance: Scholars gain technical expertise and industry insights from Broadway and music industry professionals. In small groups or as individuals, scholars explore everything from breathing and scales to performance endurance.

Instrumental Music: Scholars learn or deepen their existing skills in a range of instruments, from piano to guitar to drums. They also learn the art of making music in our state-of-the-art recording studio.

Fashion Art: Scholars receive training in all aspects of fashion design, from figure drawing to construction. Through a partnership with Harlem Fashion Row, scholars are matched with a professional mentor who provides technical expertise and industry knowledge.

Dance: Scholars acquire the technical skills and artistry of various dance forms, from majorette to ballet, in our premier dance studio.

Theater: Scholars learn a breadth of theatrical tools and performance skills, from the basics of improv to the projection and presence required for musicals.

4-Year Program Structure

Academy of Arts and Civic Engagement mirrors the college experience, providing a four-year program structure.

Scholars learn core knowledge and technical applications of their focus area to achieve competence and become competitive career candidates.

Scholars spend a year partnered with a specialist instructor in an independent study project with real-world relevance and application.

To demonstrate mastery, scholars help lead underclassmen project teams and generate and execute projects independently.

Scholars take internships or engage in mentorship opportunities that enable them to apply skills in real-world settings and nurture professional contacts.

Additional Support and Services

Academy of Arts and Civic Engagement empowers scholars to gain career-ready skills and experience while they continue their traditional academic pursuits.

Advocacy: Leveraging school, family, and community resources, our scholars are positioned for success.

Academic Support: Scholars enjoy SAT prep, Regents prep, one-on-one or small group tutoring, Individualized Education Program supports, and coordination with school educators as needed

College and Career Readiness: Scholars benefit from practical guidance in applying and preparing for college, including in the following areas: resume and essay writing, applying for financial aid and scholarships, parent college advising and supports, and college visits.

Health and Wellness: Scholars and their families can take fitness and nutrition courses and health educators provide individual tailored wellness learning.


To enroll in Academy of Arts and Civic Engagement, call 212-234-4500 or email


A student sits in front of a piano keyboard and a computer editing recorded music as a classmate looks on.

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