Teach Your Children Well

Peace quilt made by 5th grade students of Benida Solow at Kenter Canyon School

Artist Benida Solow inspires her students not only with original and exciting projects, but an appreciation of the natural world and with environmental activism. She teaches art to elementary school students and volunteers as a docent on whale watch cruises for the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in the winter months, when whales are most likely to visit the waters off Southern California. She admires British artist Andy Goldsworthy, who creates astonishing sculpture from natural objects, and she offers his example to encourage children to get their hands into the wondrous world out-of-doors.

The life-sized (50 foot long) gray whale cow and calf sand sculpture took Benida and the children four hours to complete. They used a fire hose to keep the sand wet while working on their entry in the sand sculpture contest of the Cabrillo Whale Fiesta 2006.

“Message in a Bottle” won first place in the recycled sculpture contest
at the STAR ECO Station in Culver City, California. The children wrote messages on colored paper and stuffed them into the discarded plastic bottles before hot glue-ing them all together to create one immense bottle.

Benida brought butterfly wings into a first grade class to inspire the children to create a whole series of remarkable abstract paintings.

The children find Benida fascinating and magical; witness this mixed media contour drawing of her by a second grade student.