The Alpha Workshops Studio School (AWSS) is the only nonprofit, licensed PCS specializing in decorative arts and decorative finishing in the New York state for individuals with visible or invisible disabilities, including but not limited to HIV/AIDS, affective disorders, anxiety disorders, autism and related disorders, substance addiction, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, physical limitations, and other disabilities. AWSS helps hundreds of men and women reclaim and refocus their lives by embracing the powerful healing tools of creative self-expression and meaningful work.

The Alpha Workshops Studio was founded in 1995 in the Chelsea area of Manhattan and modeled on the famed Omega Workshops, the Wiener Werkstätte, the Bauhaus, and the American Arts & Crafts movement. The multi-faceted organization encompasses The Alpha Workshops Studio School (AWSS) and The Alpha Workshops Studios, an award-winning professional design and decorative arts atelier staffed exclusively by AWSS graduates.

The Studios offer a full spectrum of decorative arts services to interior designers and architects, including traditional custom decorative paint and plaster finishes, gilding, and on-site art installations. Alpha’s staff artisans also produce unique hand-painted wallpapers, custom hand-finished case-goods, hand-finished lamps, and other fine interior products made to specification and available through select showrooms. In accordance with its original mission [to provide a new model of economic development for people living with visible or invisible disabilities], The Alpha Workshops is part of a growing movement to establish unique ways of working, teaching, and doing business with benefits for all: a do-no-harm approach to education and enterprise.

Licensed by and under the terms of Section 5001 through 5010 of The University of the State of New York, The State Education Department and the Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision, The Alpha Workshops Studio School (AWSS) provides one (1) CORE Vocational Training Program in Decorative Arts and Painted Finishes delivered in two (2) sections, IDA + ADA.

Admissions Eligibility / Requirements 

An individual is eligible for application to The Alpha Workshops Studio School’s CORE Vocational Training Program if the following two criteria are met:

  • Criterion I: The individual has a disability, defined as any individual who has a visible or invisible physical or mental impairment that results in a substantial impediment to employment; and who can benefit in terms of an employment outcome from AWSS’s Private Career School / Vocational Training Program.
  • Criterion II: The individual desires vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain or regain employment.

(C: S1) CORE Curriculum: Section 1: Introduction to Decorative Arts (IDA)

  • Prerequisite (PR1): AWSS Pre Orientation (Online Sign-Up, Open and Ongoing by RSVP only) – To view a sample PR1 outline, click HERE
  • Prerequisite (PR2): AWSS Orientation + Situational Assessment (Online Sign-Up, Access Provided to Individual via Online Link Upon Successful Completion of Pre-Orientation Session)

(C: S2) CORE Curriculum: Section 2: Advanced Decorative Arts (ADA)

  • Prerequisite (PR3): Successful Completion of Section 1

Interested? Please click on the links below to learn more.


Learn More About…

The Alpha Workshops Studio School

Academic Calendar 2019

The Core Curriculum

My Creative Future [MCF]

AWSS Faculty & Staff

AWSS Events

AWSS Employment Opportunities


Community Connections and Referrals

The majority of the students enrolled in the AWSS Core Curriculum and the AWSS My Creative Future program get started through referrals from former students and service agencies, care providers, and community organizations. We believe that connection and collaboration is key to supportive programming and enhanced engagement opportunities for our organizations and our students.

If you are a Service Agency, Care Provider, or a Community Organization… Let’s connect!

To get started, please fill out our AWSS Community Connection & Referring Partner Form.

The Alpha Workshops Studio School is located at 245 West 29th Street, 14th Floor, New York, New York 10001.

The Alpha Workshops proudly serves the LGBTQ and HIV+/AIDS communities and Persons with Disabilities within the city of New York and beyond.