Nick Kozak is an Artist Educator working at Manhattan Hunter Science High School. He attended the State University of New York at New Paltz, where he studied Art History and Art Education. Later, he completed a Masters in Art + Education at New York University, where he is currently part of the adjunct faculty. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, cat, and growing collection of comic books. More than often he makes food for people. Nick also makes art.
ART HISTORY – Grant Project
As part of the Art History class Kozak teaches at Manhattan Hunter Science, focused on contemporary art exhibitions and time-specific work, this year, students worked with the National Parks Service (NPS), specifically looking at the General Grant National Memorial (aka, Grant’s Tomb) located at on Riverside Drive at 122nd street.
The culminating project for this exploration of a facet of US History took the form of making corrective and comedic videos celebrating our 18th president and the post-Civil War era. The student videos live on in the National Parks Service website.
Attendance is rather lacking at this NPS site compared to Ellis Island, Federal Hall, and more recently, Hamilton Grange. Additionally, Grant’s legacy as a general and president is often overrun with misconceptions and misrepresentations. Together with park rangers, 40 students trekked through history to uncover fascinating truths about Ulysses S. Grant, finding that he had helped to introduce civil rights legislation half a century before the rest of the nation ready to have that discussion.
Students started this project not really sure how our nation’s historic sites and memorials tie into actual history. Through this unit they gained a better understanding of the roles that presidential figures play in the present and how they’re remembered, as they become the past.Past projects undertaken by this class have included collaborations with Concerned New Yorkers, Art 21, and Pioneer Works to motivate socially active projects.