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The Garden Celebrates Children with Three Special Events

Children’s Art Exhibit and Mural to be Unveiled; Holiday Craft Class Announced

image of Laura Denny and children with their letter art creations at SBBG

November 12, 2013

image of Go Native hand-painted letters, SBBGThe Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a wondrous place for children to learn and discover the beauty of nature first-hand, in a truly meaningful and experiential way. To celebrate our community’s children, the Garden is hosting an all-day event on Saturday, December 7th beginning with the annual Family Holiday Craft Workshop, from 10:00am until Noon. Soon afterwards, at 2:00pm, the community is welcome to participate in a special ribbon-cutting for the newly installed Native Plant Alphabet Mural adjacent to the Garden's Discovery Garden and Arroyo classroom. This collaborative art project is the culmination of several free workshops led by local art teacher Laura Denny and area families, held over the past year. And finally, immediately following the Mural's ribbon-cutting, the general public is encouraged to attend the official grand opening reception of a Children's Native Plant Art Exhibit in the Blaksley Library.

The Children's Art Exhibit

image of child artist in the Garden, SBBGThe Garden, Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN), and Adams Elementary School are pleased to announce the inaugural "Native Plant Art Exhibit" opening reception, which will take place on Saturday, December 7th, from 2:00-4:30pm, at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, in the Blaksley Library at 1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara. The exhibit is free with paid Garden admission, and will be on view until January 31, 2014.
This exhibit, curated from a semester-long, art project with the iCAN Visual Arts Program at Adams, is the pilot project for a collaboration between iCAN and the Garden. Beginning with a field to the Garden in mid-September, iCAN teaching artists incorporated an art lesson focused on native plants into the fall, 2013 program curriculum for the entire 2nd grade. Each student toured the garden collected natural materials, and drew their favorite species in their sketchbooks. They returned to the iCAN Art Studio to create a special piece of art under the creative direction of iCAN Teaching Artist, Magda Barnes and Art Assistant, Katie Acheson-Wolford. This reception and exhibit will showcase their work for their families and our community to join in celebration.

Save the Date

Please join us for the official Ribbon Cutting to celebrate the installation of the Garden's Children's Native Plant Alphabet Mural
Saturday, December 7th at 2:00pm
"This exhibit provides our students with a unique opportunity that is twofold," said Anna Pilhoefer, Director of the iCAN Visual Arts Program. "First, the children experienced one of our community's gems through an educational trip to the Garden. And second, they were able to transfer their knowledge creatively onto a unique piece of art that can be shared by all."

Native Plant Alphabet Mural Dedication

The day will also feature a very special ribbon-cutting and dedication for the long-awaited "Children's Native Plant Alphabet Mural" created using the imaginative renderings by children curated from several free community workshops generously sponsored by a Garden supporter and led by locally revered art teacher Laura Denny, www.dennydesign.net, over the past year.

image of artist Laura Denny with children and their letter art creations at SBBGIn addition to teaching children about the beauty of California natives, this multi-step process included first sketching letters, then painting their design onto cloth, scanning the original art into a digital file, and finally, transferring the images onto weatherproof tiles. From A to Z, each panel depicts a different California native plant, as interpreted by children ages 6 to 12. The mural is 11 feet wide by 2.5 feet in height, and is located on the wall just outside the Arroyo classroom leading to the Discovery Garden.

"We are so excited to finally be able to showcase this engaging and informative alphabet mural," said Frédérique Lavoipierre, Education Program Manager for the Garden. "The Garden is so fortunate to have Laura leading this project, which highlights native plants for visitors of all ages, and creates a colorful welcome to the Discovery Garden."

Family Holiday Nature Craft Workshop

image of girl with handmade holiday wreath Gather family, friends, and neighbors for this fun, annual event! Enjoy creating holiday craft items using an abundance of materials gathered from nature under the guidance of the Garden’s former Director of Education, Sally Isaacson. Sip hot cider and enjoy some treats while creating unique wreaths, ornaments, wrapping paper, and more! Stay to enjoy the opening of our iCAN art exhibit in the Blaksley Library and the ribbon cutting for our new Children’s Alphabet Mural. The workshop cost for SBBG members is $10 for adults and $5 per child (up to 12 years old) and the non-member pricing is $15 for adults and $7.00 per child (up to 12 years old). All materials will be provided. Advanced registration is required for the workshop; please call (805) 682-4726 ext. 102, email registrations@sbbg.org, or register on the SBBG website

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About the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: 
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a 78-acre educational and scientific institution fostering the conservation of California’s native plants and serves as a role model for sustainable practice in Santa Barbara, California. The Garden was founded in 1926 and is among the nation’s oldest botanic gardens focused exclusively on native plants.

To arrange an interview or to request high-resolution photos, please contact

Joni Kelly
Communications Manager
office: (805) 682-4726 ext. 132
email: jkelly@sbbg.org