Ruth Asawa was a Japanese-American artist born in 1926 to farming parents in California. Asawa experienced first-hand the Asian discrimination that was rampant after the attack on Pearl Harbor in WWII. She and her family were forced to stay at an internment camp in Arkansas for 18 months. But it was during this time that Ruth started to draw.

After the war and spending some time at a college in Wisconsin, Asawa was able to rebuild her life and move to North Carolina to attend Black Mountain College. It was here that she learned more about art and met her future husband, architect Albert Lanier. Her time at Black Mountain College would impact her activism later on in life.

She would go on to become a celebrated sculptor, using wire to weave abstract forms, and designing numerous public fountains for the San Francisco area where she would settle and live till her death in 2013.

Asawa was also an activist committed to expanding art programs for children. At Black Mountain College, she saw how important art education was fought for better funding and support for art education in schools. She even built her own schools for arts. Her public high school for the arts would later be named after her.

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