5 Questions with Ari Hauben
Ari Hauben wears many different hats; Artist, founder of the gallery and event space The Boston Button Factory, and of course Boston City teacher, a job where he earned the 2018 Educator of the Year for the City of Boston. We checked in with Ari about how COVID has affected both teaching the arts and himself as an artist.
1. You are an artist, but also an art teacher. In a time when some might argue education is being sacrificed, what ideas can you share about the importance of art in education?
AH:A.H. Education has definitely been swept under the Covid rug, leaving teachers on an island without clear direction throughout this pandemic. This has created a climate of instability, uncertainty, and anxiety, making it challenging to deliver consistent high-level education. This is particularly true for the arts, which are often taught as a project-based learning curriculum, in a hands-on manner, with technology, or with materials that students do not have access to at home. All of this makes teaching remotely, in a meaningful way, challenging.
But I digress. Art allows students to participate in education without the fear of failure while also opening access to skills they may not have otherwise known. Students can then apply these skills to find success and confidence that will permeate their education and life. Or maybe it just gives them a reason to get up and go to school, and that alone makes it very important.
2. As an art teacher, what medium do you encourage students to use first?
A.H. Passion! I coach my students to figure out what interests them the most, and then we can figure out what tangible medium makes the best sense to help best express their vision.
3. Who is your favorite artist, and why?
A.H. Uncle Danny, AKA Daniel Hauben, AKA Udan, spent a lifetime painting Bronx (where my father’s side of the family is from) cityscapes and life. I think being introduced to the idea that you could be an “artist” at such a young age, combined with his commitment to his craft and making art he believed in, had a deep impact on me at a young age. Also, I dig his work!
4. How has 2020 changed you as an artist?
A.H. In some ways, it’s allowed me to reflect and place value on what’s really important and what I want to spend time creating, which has been a silver lining. It has also created uncertainty in the market and taken away human interaction with the work, which has put more pressure on having to market and get the work out into the virtual world, which has taken away from actually creating, which is the best part of the process, so that’s been a jam.
5. When the world opens up again, where is the first place you will go?
A.H. Barstools, all of them, and then, Chinatown for soup dumplings.
Shop more of Ari Hauben’s original art HERE.