Sinatra School Ribbon Cutting at Astoria Kaufman

Posted on September 21, 2009. Filed under: Astoria, LIC | Tags: , , , |

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Tony Bennett cutting the ribbon for the new home of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Kaufman Astoria Studios

Today marked the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new home of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Tony Bennett’s hometown of Astoria, Queens. The school, founded by Bennett and his wife Susan Benedetto in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, was previously housed in temporary facilities in Long Island City. An enthusiastic crowd of parents, students and faculty members gathered on this warm September morning to celebrate the unveiling of the grand new addition to the neighborhood. The event commemorated the opening of the school’s first permanent home. Bennett cut the ribbon while standing along side Benedetto and friend Nancy Sinatra. In his speech during the ceremony Bennett praised Frank Sinatra, his inspiration and namesake for the school, and made special note to say that some of the greatest people live in Astoria, Queens. Following the ribbon cutting was the temporary renaming of  the corner of 36th street and 35th Ave to “Tony Bennett Plaza” in honor of the occasion.

The event brought celebrities, students and politicians together in a proud merger between the arts and the community of Queens. Co-founder of the school, Benedetto believes, “it makes sense for academics and art to thrive together” because when students learn about a specific ballet they are not only  “learning about performance art, but also about the history” of it. The school, known for its competitive admittance, consists of about 750 students citywide, but the majority of students, like Melissa Meckl, hail from Queens. Meckl, a senior focusing on drawing, said the auditions to get in were “nerve-racking” but is now happy that the school has a permanent home. Cynthia Roldan, also a senior, was at the event to gather photos and interviews for the school’s photojournalism club. Roldan was pleased with the new location saying it “has much more space and freedom”.

The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts is an ultra-modern space constructed on land donated by the Astoria Kaufman Studios. The exciting addition to the neighborhood includes an 800 seat theater called The Tony Bennett Concert Hall and a rooftop garden both of which will be used by the students and available for rent by the public. Bennett and Benedetto, also created Exploring the Arts, a nonprofit organization devoted to bringing fine arts to public schools.

Waiting to cut the ribbon (from left Peter Vallone I, Helen Marshall, George Kaufman, Nancy Sinatra, & Joel Klein)

Waiting to cut the ribbon (from left Peter Vallone I, Helen Marshall, George Kaufman, Nancy Sinatra, & Joel Klein)

Margot Allison & Melissa Meckl, seniors at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts

Margot Allison & Melissa Meckl, seniors at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts

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36th Street & 35th Ave temporarily become Tony Bennett Plaza

Susan Benedetto, Tony Bennett & Quincy Jones

Susan Benedetto, Tony Bennett & Quincy Jones

Cynthia Roldan-Senior and member of the photojournalists club at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts

Cynthia Roldan- a senior and member of the photojournalists club at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts

Entrance to the new and improved Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria

Entrance to the new and improved Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria

Co-Founders Tony Bennett & Susan Benedetto talking about the importances of arts in academics

Co-Founders Tony Bennett & Susan Benedetto talking about the importance of arts in academics

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3 Responses to “Sinatra School Ribbon Cutting at Astoria Kaufman”

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THis is school is awsome i go here too 🙂

Yay! Thanks for your comment!

I GO HERE TO THAT SCHOOL AND IT ROCKS!! ❤


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