History and Mission

Founded in 2005 by educator Rebecca Krucoff and playwright Ain Gordon, the Urban Memory Project asks residents to explore the vital relationship between their personal histories and their city’s history, preparing the next generation to be the voice of its own story. Participants study city trends and issues while mastering practices modeled by historians and artists: documentation, research, analysis and formal presentation.

The Urban Memory Project has worked with more than 1,000 students and 150 teachers in New York City public schools. Project residents partner with U.S. history and government teachers to co-plan and co-teach classes ranging from six to 20 weeks, and they provide short-term and ongoing professional development. The project enriches its programming through partnerships with organizations such as the Gotham Center for New York City History, the Henry Street Settlement Abrons Arts Center and the New York Public Library.

WHO WE ARE

REBECCA KRUCOFF, Director and co-founder

Rebecca has spent the past 22 years in education, working in a variety of museums and schools to create curriculum, train teachers and teach the public at all age levels. Rebecca holds a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education.  She has taught social studies at La Guardia High School for Music, Art and Performing Arts; the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School; and the New York City Museum School. She has been a museum educator in New York City and Chicago for institutions including the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum, and most recently, was the curator of education for the Brooklyn Historical Society. Rebecca has developed a variety of teacher materials for cultural institutions, including a series of in-depth neighborhood history guides for  the New York Public Library, drawn from their archives.  In addition to founding and directing the Urban Memory Project, Rebecca works as a consultant for AUSSIE Partners in Professional Development, providing instructional and administrative support to schools across New York City.

AIN GORDON, Director and co-founder

Ain is a writer, director and actor who is a three-time Obie Award winner, a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts fellow, and the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in playwriting. His work has been commissioned, produced and presented by New York Theater Workshop, Soho Rep., The Public Theatre, 651 ARTS, Dance Theater Workshop, Performance Space 122, and HERE Arts Center (all in New York City); the Mark Taper Forum (California); the George Street Playhouse (New Jersey); the Krannert Center (Illinois); the Baltimore Museum of Art (Maryland); DiverseWorks (Texas); Spirit Square (North Carolina); VSA North Fourth Arts Center (New Mexico); Jacob’s Pillow (Massachusetts); LexArts (Kentucky); The Kitchen Theatre (New York state); Dance Space (Washington, D.C.); and elsewhere. Ain has received support from organizations including the Multi-Arts Production Fund, the Jerome Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, the Peg Santvoord Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Performance Network, the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, AT&T OnStage, and the Arts Presenters Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Program funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Trust. He has been co-director of the Pick Up Performance Co(s) since 1992.

 

Board of Directors

 

Jason Mazza, Director

Jason Mazza is a print and Web designer living in New York City. He is currently the creative director for Image & Type, a New York-based design studio. Jason came to the Urban Memory Project through his work at New Visions for Public Schools, where he managed the design and development of print and online communications. Jason previously worked as a freelance designer for clients as varied as News Corporation, Major League Baseball and the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, and he was a project manager for Bank of America’s online banking. Jason has served on the Urban Memory Project board for three years.

Vincent Falivene, Director

Vincent Falivene has been teaching high school students and teachers in public schools, universities and museums for more than 10 years. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s Teachers College and was a founding and lead teacher at Williamsburg Preparatory in Brooklyn. He currently teaches history and epistemology in South Side High School’s International Baccalaureate program and works as an adjunct at the Steinhardt School at New York University. Falivene has developed inquiry-based learning that inspires students to be proactive, enlightened citizens and gives them the skills necessary for higher levels of education. He was one of the Urban Memory Project’s original teachers and has been on the organization’s board for three years.

Jennifer Weiss, Director

Jennifer Weiss has served on the board of the Urban Memory Project for four years. She works for as the health literacy coordinator for Literacy Partners, a New York nonprofit. She previously was policy director for the Medicare Rights Center, a national nonprofit consumer services and advocacy organization. She is the co-author of Brooklyn by Name: How the Streets, Neighborhoods, Parks, Bridges and More Got their Names (NYU Press, 2006), and Citizen-In Chief: The Second Lives of the American Presidents (Harper Collins, 2009).