One of Benicia’s most popular annual art exhibits and celebrations, Arts Benicia’s Next Generation, is back through the month of March. This exhibit proudly highlights creative works by Benicia kids from kindergarten through high school. Students from all of Benicia’s schools, after school and private art education programs submitted art for the show. Pieces from every school have been chosen for display at the Arts Benicia Gallery.

Next Generation first started in 1996, and was revived four years ago by Executive Director, Larnie Fox, who strongly believes in the importance of kids’ art and its incorporation into the art world. The whole community benefits from kids’ exposure to and participation in the arts. In an educational system that is perhaps more and more geared towards standardized testing and academics, the incorporation of creative expression can hardly be underestimated. “Seeing his or her work in a ‘real gallery’ can be a life changing experience for a child,” says Fox. “For a young artist, it can be a first step in lifelong passion for the arts. It’s also a powerful self-esteem builder for all children.”

The art displayed will range from work by young and raw beginners to near-professional teenage artists. Kids and their families enjoy a sense of pride through participation in this grand community effort, which also involves educational leaders and Arts Benicia staff and volunteers. Funding for the exhibit is supported by the Wilson Family Foundation and other generous donors.

Join the community for the opening reception Sunday, March 9, and also for Family Art Day on Sunday, March 16. Family Art Day takes place one Sunday per exhibit, during most exhibits, and is free and open to the public. It’s inspired by the current exhibit, and is an excellent way to get creative juices flowing for the whole family.

Exhibit: Opens 3/6, 12-5pm, opening reception, 3/9, 3-5pm
Family Art Day:  3/16, 1-3pm
Recycled Book Making Class3/30, 1-4pm, 6-12 grade, $2/student, $5/family; no one turned away for lack of funds. All students must be accompanied by an adult. To register:, 707.747.0131.