I saw these carved guys on the exterior of the A.P. Randolph Campus High School on 135th Street in Harlem, and was curious to learn a little more about this building. It was designed and built in 1924 by William H. Gompert, the Architect and Superintendent of School Buildings for the New York City Board of Education, to house the New York Training School for Teachers. In his nearly five years as school architect, Gompert was credited with overseeing the design and construction of some 170 new schools and additions! That’s a lot of architectural activity in only five years!
After its origin as a training school, the building was later the home of The High School of Music & Art, which existed from 1936 until 1984. The school was made up of three departments: Art, Instrumental Music, and Vocal Music, and some of its notable alumni include the jazz musicians Nat Adderley Jr., Don Byron, Eddie Gomez, Omar Hakim, and Marcus Miller, among many others. Some of the artist alumni include Mary Frank, Milton Glaser, Wolf Kahn, Allan Kaprow, and Audrey Flack, among others. And lets not overlook a few other notable alumni: Eartha Kitt, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Aniston, Al Pacino, Billy Dee Williams, Liza Minnelli, Ben Vereen, Suzanne Vega, Slick Rick, and last but not least … Paul Stanley of KISS. Talk about an incredible incubator of creativity!