Asian American pioneers Elaine Chu and Marina Perez-Wong met at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco when they were only 14. They were influenced by the famous sculptor, Ruth Asawa.
“Her artwork later was amazing to see in the De Young Museum. It was the first time I saw a Bay Area Asian woman artist in a monumental space,” Perez-Wong said.
Ruth Asawa's creations can be seen in museums around the world and are seen every day on the streets of San Francisco. She was known as the "Fountain Lady."
Asawa was profoundly inspired by the experience of collaborating with and being taught by internationally renowned working artists while attending Black Mountain College in North Carolina from 1946 to 1949. It was her experience as a young woman at Black Mountain that drove Asawa to be a fierce advocate for arts education and lead the charge to found a public high school for the arts in San Francisco. She wanted to inspire other young artists. After her death, the school was renamed the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in her honor.
Elaine and Marina work to continue setting an the example of strong independent women in the art world. They've beautified and given color to many places in San Francisco (you can find all the locations in the interactive map above).
Together, they are passing along a strong Asian American influence in art.