Trailblazing artist and arts education advocate Ruth Asawa will be honored with postage stamps. Photo: Deanne Fitzmaurice, The Chronicle 2002

San Francisco sculptor and arts education advocate Ruth Asawa will be honored with a series of  postage stamps, the United States Postal Service announced Friday, April 3.

The Asawa stamps will feature 10 designs, each depicting a different crocheted wire sculpture, the medium for which Asawa was best known, photographed by Dan Bradica and Laurence Cuneo. Ethel Kessler designed the stamp. The current design remains subject to change before printing.

The stamps will be available for purchase this year, after a stamp dedication ceremony still to be scheduled.  The public will be able to purchase them online at, by calling 800-782-6724, or in person at post offices.

An untitled Ruth Asawa work hangs in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle 2016

The stamps come during a month of good publicity for Asawa, who died in 2013 at age 87. Marilyn Chase’s biography of the artist, “Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa,” is scheduled to be released Tuesday, April 7.

Asawa has works on permanent exhibition at the de Young Museum, as well as public art on display throughout the Bay Area.

The daughter of Japanese immigrants and a survivor of Japanese internment, Asawa rose to prominence in the 1950s, a time when sculpting was dominated by white men. In 1982, she was instrumental in the creation of the San Francisco School of the Arts, which was renamed the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in 2010.

Asawa served on the San Francisco Arts Commission, the board of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the California Arts Council and the National Endowment of the Arts.

  • Lily Janiak
    Lily Janiak Lily Janiak is The San Francisco Chronicle’s theater critic. Email: Twitter: @LilyJaniak

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