My Soapbox: Aaron Rubinstein, artist
Aaron Rubinstein, 85, has been a fixture at Summerfair since its beginning. People come from all over the country—and sometimes the world—to talk with him and purchase his jewelry.
Rubinstein, a Holocaust survivor, was born in Israel and came to the
United States to attend art school. He also taught at a Jewish day
school in Cincinnati before making a hobby his life. He’s done work for
the Kennedy Art Center (a commemorative pin), the Cincinnati Art Museum
(a pendant) and a magnificent necklace for Ms. Universe. He’s won
countless awards—many of which adorn the walls of his shop—and he’s been
on the cover of Sunshine Artist twice.
After his wife’s death in 2004, Rubinstein’s daughter, Haguit
Rubinstein-Towler, 49, joined her father in his trade. Art and
Summerfair have always been parts of her life. Soapbox sat down with the Rubinsteins to talk art, jewelry and Summerfair.
You’ve showcased at Summerfair for the past 45 years—when did you begin making jewelry?
AR: I started making jewelry 59 years ago, in 1949. It was part of my physical therapy after I was injured.
What got you interested in making jewelry?
AR: It started as a hobby, and I fell in love with it.
Have you tried your hand at other forms of art making?
AR: I graduated as a sculptor from the Art Institute in
Israel. I then taught art in schools. I did an exchange and went to the
Chicago Art Institute in 1960 and the Minneapolis Institute of Art in
1961. I graduated from the Minneapolis Institute of Art in 1966. It was a
small school but a very good school. I minored in jewelry. I came to
Cincinnati in 1968 and started to develop the field of jewelry making.
We build unique tools to make jewelry, which is our trademark.
AR: Art is a very important part of people’s lives,
especially children. Parents bring their kids to Summerfair, and art is
being taught in high schools all over Cincinnati. It’s a very important
part of life in Cincinnati. If you take away art and music, there is
nothing for society—it’s a reflection of a generation. My family has
been mainly artists and musicians for the past 100 years. Haguit was
born into art. She’s an architect. And her kids—my grandkids—are all
pursuing art. My oldest grandson just got his master’s in filmmaking and
screenwriting; my granddaughter will be attending Ohio Wesleyan in
August to get her master’s in creative writing; and my youngest grandson
is going to school for automotive design.
What do you like most about showcasing at Summerfair?
AR: The volunteers are the great people. When I came to
Cincinnati, there was a negative approach to contemporary art in the
area. Since Summerfair started, it’s made a huge change in the
population’s approach to art. Houses are now decorated with art.
HRT: Art used to be associated with hippies, and people
weren’t educated about art like they are now. Summerfair contributes so
much culture to the area and helps promote new artists with grants and
You were given an award last year—can you tell me about it and what it means to you?
AR: I was given the Ashley Award, which was in honor of
Ashley, one of Summerfair’s organizer. She died very young, and she was
a friend of mine. It really touched me—her husband and two children
presented the award to me. She was a sweet lady, energetic.
Why did you decide to join your father in making jewelry?
HRT: I grew up with it—I remember the first Summerfair.
I helped off and on at the shop when I was a stay-at-home mom, but I
came on full-time in 2004 after my mother died.
Is there a difference in style between your work and your father’s?
HRT: Yes. Because I wear the jewelry, I brought in a
different viewpoint. For me to wear it, I have to feel comfortable in
it. I appreciate my father’s designs more now too. And I use some of his
pieces as a base and add my own style to it.
What do you hope your jewelry brings to the Cincinnati area?
AR: I like that people recognize my work from all over
the United States and abroad. I used to sell to people in London,
Switzerland, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Tokyo. People come from all
over just to purchase pieces of my work. There was a couple from Seattle
who flew into Louisville and then drove here to buy their wedding rings
from me. Two years later, the man called and wanted me to size it for
him. We’ve made wedding rings for the grandchildren of long-time
HRT: People come to Summerfair because he’s there. He’s
a fixture there. People are coming to invest in his work for future
investments. When people come to Summerfair wearing his work, other
jewelry makers recognize it. It’s a huge compliment because jewelry is
If you missed Summerfair this year, make sure to catch it next year.
Please read the latest article about
Aaron Rubinstein at Modern Silver
Aaron Rubinstein, designer, inventor, artists, jeweler has been featured in many articles Aaron has won hundreds of national awards for his bold artistic jewelry. His designs are contemporary and funky. He works in Sterling silver and 14K gold using many natural gemstone cabochons and faceted stones. Our gallery and museum quality jewelry is handmade in Cincinnati, Ohio in our studio. We offer many one-of-a-kinds, as well as our tried and true signature designs.
Thank you for continuing to appreciate our work. Please check our calendar for upcoming shows.
Our company, Modern Art Jewelry has been in business since 1968.
Click on the taps at the top of the page for interesting and informative news articles.
Aaron Rubinstein won first prize for wearable art-designed jewelry. Loveland a beehive of activity
Loveland was a busy beehive of activity at Nisbet Park Sept. 7. Thousands came out on a bright sunshiny day for the Loveland Arts Council 12th Annual Loveland Art Show in the park.
Early morning clouds and rain gave way to clear skies, comfortable temperatures and a steady stream of patrons kept the artists happy throughout the day. The 80 artists exhibiting estimated more than 3,000 people turned out to browse and buy the wide variety of quality art they displayed.
"I think it's the best turnout we've ever had," said Shawn Custis, president of the Loveland Arts Council. "I've heard nothing but excitement as there were a lot of buyers at this show; nothing but excitement!"
Even with parking at a premium and every available space filled, nobody was complaining. Girl Scouts helped out at Kids Korner, where children had the chance to create their own works of art while mom and dad browsed the show. Local eateries provided food and refreshment at the Starving Artists Café.
The most excitement centered on the art exhibited and the patrons who came to see it.
"Excellent! Good crowd, well educated; their reaction was excellent," said Deer Park resident Aaron Rubinstein, an internationally recognized artist who won first place in the wearable art category. "The Arts Council gave excellent direction; there was constant traffic and nice people."
Rubinstein has been featured in the Enquirer and Cincinnati Magazine as one of Cincinnati's finest artists for his work designing artistic jewelry with gold, silver and gemstones. Judges awarded $1,200 in prizes to the top three artists in five separate categories including: painting, 3D sculpture, photo/prints/collage, wearable art and kids categories.
Pat Olding uses a pallet knife for her oil-based paintings for which she won first place in the 2006 show here. She didn't win this year, but was happy to sell some of her work and meet the people.
"I sold one of my big ones before I even finished setting up," she said. "I got involved in Loveland because of Deirdre Dyson. It's great; a great location."
Artists from all over mixed with a lot of local artists to provide quality art in a nice setting for patrons who came to see their favorites and meet some new artists too.
"Meeting people interested in your art makes it a success even if they don't buy," Olding said. "It's a success if I end up in the shade."
At the end of the day the great crowd and great weather made the show a success for everyone. Kate Ungrund teaches art to first- to eighth-grade school children when she's not creating her own fabric art. She exhibits her art-quilting in a number of shows and sold several pieces.
"This is one of the best," Ungrund said. "Great weather, the number of people; it's a nice place for a show."
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