updated 2/18/2009 9:41:12 AM ET 2009-02-18T14:41:12

Giorgio Armani is giving $1 million to nurture arts programs in New York City public schools, the designer announced Tuesday night.

The donation, which Armani announced as he opened the Armani/5th Avenue flagship store, will support arts offerings in schools with many disadvantaged students.

The new initiative will be called the Armani Arts Institute. The designer said he saw it as "giving young kids a chance to dream."

Arts education is "an essential component of a well-rounded curriculum," and Armani's gift would help insure all city students have a chance to experience it, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The contribution will be going to the Fund for Public Schools, a nonprofit organization that supports city schools. It has raised more than $240 million since 2003.

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