“LIFEWTR Series 4 celebrates the long-lasting impact that art education has on our lives from youth into adulthood. The series features the work of three young artists who have discovered the empowerment that comes with creativity and demonstrated the importance of early art education in instilling the values necessary for a more inspired future.”
LIFEWTR also shared:
“Luis Gonzalez, a Boston native and high school senior, views the abstract art he creates as more than just a mode of self-expression—it’s “a lifesaver.” Growing up in an underserved community, art has kept him in school and has guided him down a safer path than the one he has witnessed many of his peers taking. Gonzalez plans to become a professional artist, following in the footsteps of his art teacher and mentor, Ari Hauben. He also aspires to teach other youth, and show them the possibilities that art can bring.”
Ari, along with colleagues Warren Pemsler and Chris Busch, designed their Fund for Teachers fellowship to experience art museums, theatres, stages and facilities in New York City, England and The Netherlands. They also met with outreach departments to learn best practices for expanding McKinley Preparatory High School‘s local partnerships with the Huntington Theatre and Institute of Contemporary Art Boston. Subsequently, the teaching team set about closing the achievement gap of emotionally-disturbed special education students who are predominantly children of color.
“One aspect of the achievement gap that seemed particularly pronounced among our students was their lack of cultural capital,” explained Warren. “To increase students’ exposure to dramatic and fine arts, we first developed our own cultural capital with our FFT grant and then formed collaborations with The Huntington and ICA to forge new paradigms that engage students in these areas of study.”
In recognition of his accomplishment, LIFEWTR sent Louis and Ari to the Teen Vogue Summit in Los Angeles last month. Soon Louis, Ari and Warren head to New York City for the formal introduction of the artful bottles.
“Fund for Teachers is the proverbial rock thrown in a pond, with its ripples spreading out in exciting and unexpected ways,” said Ari. “One perfect example is my student Luis Gonzalez. Luis has participated the past 3 ½ years in my art (and theater) collaboration with two other FFT recipients, spurred by our fellowship to New York London, and The Netherlands. Luis has participated in approximately thirty field trips to contemporary art museums and plays, many exploring cutting edge artists and playwrights. Through these experiences and others, Luis was inspired to create abstract and pop culture works of art. When the opportunity arose for students to enter a contest to be on LIFEWTR bottles, Luis was the perfect person for the task. Having seen his abstract art piece Daydreamin, LIFEWTR replicated the art on 15 million bottles with the hopethat it will inspire other teens to be creative. Thank you FFT for the support and opportunity to connect our FFT experiences in the ‘real world’ with our students in the classroom, who then take this full circle and bring it back out to the world.”