“Just as athletes need to exercise every day, children need to make art every day.”

— Ruth Asawa

Through her pioneering work to bring quality arts education to countless children in San Francisco schools, artist Ruth Asawa encouraged young artists to imagine, to play and make more of the world around them.  Asawa generously shared her philosophy.

“Art is for everybody.  It is not something that you should have to go to the museums in order to see and enjoy… I like to include people who haven’t yet developed their creative side – people yearning to let their creativity out.  I like designing projects that make people feel safe, not afraid to get involved.”

Ruth’s Grand Hyatt Fountain in Union Square. Ruth worked with her friends and hundreds of school children to create the baker’s clay mural that was cast in bronze for this public fountain.

She transformed the ordinary by using readily found materials to make art.  Paper, wire, even the simple ingredients of flour, salt and water could be used to build community. 

2004 Rooftop Family Art Night collaborative baker’s clay mural.

Rooftop School has benefitted from Ruth Asawa’s commitment to arts education for all children, as well as the extraordinary leadership of Ruth’s daughter, Aiko Cuneo, who founded the Rooftop Art Program in 1981.

With ArtsEd4All, we continue to build upon the Rooftop “family” tradition of hands-on learning, sharing and community building through  arts engagement.

Download a pdf booklet:
Transforming the Ordinary – Ruth Asawa
Student work inspired by Ruth Asawa
Rooftop Alternative K-8 School
Julia Morgan Program Spring 2004

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