Card Making Workshop with Monica Lee

Ruth's Table

Organization Associated with Program
Bethany Center Senior Housing
580 Capp St.
San Francisco, California 94110

Ruth's Table is a community center in San Francisco where people of all generations come together to explore their creative potential. The center is located on the first floor of an eight-floor, low-income housing facility. Numerous services are provided to the local community, such as workshops, community events and lectures, crafts, tai chi and modern dance classes, professional galleries and exhibits, concerts, films, and computer and technology training. Classes in Chinese brush painting, original prints, and terrariums are offered. A group of quilters has been meeting regularly at Ruth’s Table since 2004; despite their diverse backgrounds, they are brought together by their common interest in textiles and quilting. A wide range of arts events and lectures are held including short films on Russian art, performances of traditional Chinese music, crafts nights that bring knitters together for projects, and photography exhibits that incorporate discussion. All the arts programs are led by a professional teaching artist.

Program History

Launched in 2010, Ruth's Table now serves 3,000 people each year. It all started at Ruth Asawa’s home. Her husband, architect Albert Lanier, built her a table that for decades served as a meeting place for artists, poets, and politicians in San Francisco. Over conversations at the table, art was created and projects were organized. Asawa’s door was always open as she committed herself to linking her personal life with her community. Asawa generously donated her table to Ruth's Table with one wish: it continue to serve as a platform for creativity. Ruth's Table welcomes people of all generations and walks of life and is a place where everyone can come together to share their artistic vision and discover a sense of purpose.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

Programs are evaluated on an ongoing basis by staff and partner organizations through the use of surveys, attendance numbers, and informal interviews.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

Connect with others; you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Consider forming a link with an established older artist as a way of defining your center and honoring the artist’s accomplishments.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Exhibiting Artwork, Viewing Artwork, Attending a Performance, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Participate in a Residency, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Arts Discipline: Dance, Design, Folk/Traditional Arts, Museums, Music, Visual Arts
Interdisciplinary Connections: Design / Architecture / Built Environments, Education, Health / Medicine, Volunteerism
Target Audience: Active Adults, Caregivers - Family, Caregivers - Professional, Frail Older Adults, Intergenerational, People with Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia
Adaptive Program Design Hearing Disabilities, Visual Disabilities, Mobility Disabilities, Cognitive Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, Psychiatric Disabilities
Program Setting: Aging Organization (e.g. Senior Center), Arts Organization, Healthcare - Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), Social Service Agency
Program Service Area: Urban
Type of Practice: Field Tested Best Practice