Select Page

Valerie Soe (San Francisco) collaborating with The Ruth Asawa Fund (San Francisco)

Award: $35,000 Media Arts grant awarded in 1999

Premiered: May 23, 2002, Jack Adams Hall, Student Union, San Francisco State University

Collaborating with the acclaimed artist and teacher Ruth Asawa and the Ruth Asawa Fund, media artist Valerie Soe created a 23-minute impressionistic video, “Each One Teach One: The Alvarado School Art Program,” tracing the history of a pioneering community-based arts education program.  In 1968, seven parent-artists and community volunteers began working to transform a San Francisco public school and created one of the first community-based arts education programs in the country. Their efforts continued for decades both at the Alvarado School and through the Ruth Asawa Fund, which supported arts education throughout the San Francisco Unified School District.

Valerie Soe has produced a range of experimental videos and installations exploring of identity and culture. Among many prior collaborations, she created “La Vida Povera de San Pancho” (1997), with Erik Olsen Hannes at Southern Exposure Gallery (as part of a Creative Work Fund Project); and “20 Questions,” with Larry Andrews, dealing with the after-effects of the 1992 civil unrest in Los Angeles. Soe also has been an arts educator for many years.

Sculptor Ruth Asawa co-founded the Alvarado Arts Workshop with writer Sally Woodbridge and other parents in 1968.  She also led the way to establish San Francisco’s School of the Arts, a public high school that is now named for her. Her commissioned works are held in private collections and major cultural institutions including the Guggenheim Museum. In 1973, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art held a retrospective of Ms. Asawa’s work.

Image: Ruth Asawa (right) demonstrates paper folding to children.