Image of Self exhibition now live onsite and online

The Image of Self exhibition celebrates collective creativity by highlighting artworks that reflect on the themes of identity and representation of self. Available to view online, the exhibition is also on display in San Francisco’s Mission District at Ruth’s Table, a gallery and creative space dedicated to increasing access to creative opportunities for older adults and adults with disabilities.

Over the past year, Ruth’s Table and its sister program Creative Spark, a Front Porch Community Services program, have partnered with over 25 organizations to inspire creativity through the Image of Self project. The Image of Self exhibition features a selection of the resulting works, “highlighting the diversity of our elder communities. Whether abstract, symbolic, or intimately detailed, each artwork in the exhibition reveals the artist’s identity, individuality, and story, and aims to celebrate our authentic self as the hero in our own story,” the exhibition website explains.

“What is special about this project, and art in general, is that it has the power to bring together people and communities who would not get connected otherwise,” says Margarita Mukhsinova, associate director of Ruth’s Table. “Individuals who are not a part of the same immediate community or have diverse backgrounds or speak different languages, but we all come together as a group through a shared creative experience.”

Along with the Image of Self exhibit, other creative projects sponsored by Ruth’s Table and Creative Spark through the year have been implemented in a variety of different settings, including art kits delivery, online and phone-based workshops, onsite classes at Ruth’s Table, parallel programming implemented in partner communities, as well as teacher and staff training through Creative Spark. All projects draw on the theme of Creative Spark curriculum, which allows for a thematic commonality, while at the same time championing different forms of expressions across partners, from collage, to painting, to drawing, to free writing and poetry.

“Ruth’s Table and Creative Spark curriculum places access at the heart of its agenda,” says Margarita. “We work with teaching artists to make sure our curriculum includes multiple adaptations for the diverse needs of our communities, including dementia-friendly adaptations, suggestions on how these creative assignments can be infused in care relationships and done in groups, and more.”

The training “gave me new ideas of how to connect to the many personalities of our residents,” says Aliya, an Activities Coordinator. “I had a 100 year old who said she didn’t think highly of herself, but then we started talking about ‘words’ – she was a librarian – and her faith, and Aha! There she is!”

“Creative projects have helped me to feel that I belonged to something, making me feel secure,” says participant Margie Ramirez.

To learn more about upcoming programs, exhibitions, or resources from Ruth’s Table or Creative Spark, please visit their websites: