Ruth Asawa at Dogpatch Boulders

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Climbers often insist that, in addition to being a great workout and a fun way to interact with the outdoors, rock climbing is a creative activity. Boulder problems are puzzles to be solved using your body, oftentimes in configurations that are pretty specific to your strengths and dimensions. It’s no wonder then that students from the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts—a school that offers a highly creative alternative for students who seek in-depth study of the arts as part of their daily high school experience—would excel at the sport!

Recently, a group of 40 students from Ruth Asawa visited Dogpatch Boulders as part of a field trip study to expand their creative practices. At Ruth Asawa, students devote 2 to 3 hours a day to their art discipline, where they are taught and mentored by their Arts Directors and a corps of Artists-in-Residence from the broader arts community. In addition to fulfilling their academic responsibilities, students spend their time in rehearsals, studio time, outside lessons, training, showcases and performances. This rigorous routine benefits from opportunities to experience new challenges and ideas—and there’s no better way to do that than climb. The young dancers, musicians, painters, and sculptors of Ruth Asawa all got to try their hands at the variety of problems at the gym. If you’re studying the plastic arts, why not try pulling on plastic, too?

According to one of their teachers, Sara Park, by the end of the day the students left happy and excited to have bouldered with us:

I wanted to send out a big thank you to everyone who helped us plan this amazing 40 student field trip! Our students are artists and musicians and it was fun for them to get out of their element for the day. The kids had a blast! Many of them plan on returning in the near future!

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From the Ruth Asawa website, “With just over 650 students, Asawa SOTA is one of the smallest high schools in the district, and also one of the highest-achieving in standardized test scores and college admissions. The 4-Year Plan meets all University of California A through G requirements and an array of Honors and AP classes give students access to intellectually challenging coursework. The majority of SOTA graduates pursue higher education, most at traditional colleges and universities, and about ten percent at conservatories and art academies nationwide.”

We at Touchstone believe that creative practice—whether you find it in your art, your work, or even your climbing—is crucial to a life well-lived and a healthy society. Thank you Ruth Asawa SOTA for joining us at Dogpatch and for raising up the next generation of artists and thinkers!

If you’d like to bring an outreach group to Dogpatch Boulders, send us an email at [email protected].