Gary Schwartz has had the heart of an artist his entire adult life – it just took him several years – and occupations – to realize he could earn a living by doing something he is passionate about. Born and raised in Coney Island (his dad was the original manager of Nathan’s Hot Dogs), Gary counts advertising graphic designer, origami teacher, information guy and visitor’s service assistant, respectively, at two renowned New York institutions — the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art — and bank security guard among the many career hats he has worn, but his current hat is his favorite – and one he has worn for nearly 25 years: art teacher.
Currently, he teaches at the Upper School of Léman Manhattan Preparatory School, a globally-minded independent school located in lower Manhattan, where the arts are embraced as much as academics. Gary’s artistic passion was always a constant (his time as a security guard non-withstanding), and he continued to learn, to paint and to develop his own style (He describes himself as a photorealist). Images of Coney Island are represented in his work, as is the seashore of Brighton Beach, where he now calls home.
Twenty years ago, a friend suggested he would make a great art teacher and after substitute teaching, discovered he particularly enjoyed working with teens. He taught after-school programs at the 92nd Street Y for eight years, followed by eight years teaching art at Rodeph Sholom School.
Currently in his eighth year at Léman, Gary teaches drawing, painting, print making and portfolio classes among grades 6-12 and still continues to find the joy in teaching young minds. He is particularly proud of his portfolio class students who have gone on to study art at such prestigious schools as School of Visual Arts (his alma Mater), Parsons and Pratt.
At the recent opening of his solo show at the B&M Fine Art Studios in Sotho, many of the attendees were current and former students and colleagues, one when asked to describe Gary’s style, said simply “a Schwartz.”
For more information about the Léman Manhattan Preparatory School please visit: lemanmanhattan.org/