2020 55¢ Ruth Asawa
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: August 13, 2020
First Day City: San Francisco, CA
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 18,000,000
In 1968, one of Ruth Asawa's children came home from school with a coloring page. Realizing public schools needed better art resources, she dedicated much of the rest of her life to improving art education.
That same year, Asawa helped found the Alvarado School Arts Workshop (ASAW). The innovative program brought parents and professional artists to schools to help improve art education. Having worked closely with professional artists as a student at Black Mountain College, Asawa knew what an impact this could have on children and potential artists.
The ASAW had very little funding, but Asawa was resourceful. She encouraged them to use everyday items such as milk cartons, egg cartons, scraps of yarn, and flour, salt, and water (to make baker's clay). This program also led Asawa to found SCRAP, a non-profit organization that offers free or low-cost art supplies to schools. It's still in operation today. At its peak, the ASAW was in 50 public schools and brought in artists, musicians, and gardeners to teach the children.
Asawa was involved in many other arts education organizations and initiatives. She worked on the San Francisco Arts Education Project, the Commission on Mental Health's Role of the Arts committee, and the California Arts Council. All of these helped achieve her life's goal of making art accessible to everyone.