I received an email out of the blue from an artist/teacher/mom, she was asking for help with ideas around an art fair she was organizing at her kid’s elementary school. Their art teacher was ill most of this year and recently passed away from cancer.  Ah… a fallen comrade, sigh.

It’s awesome their school even had an art teacher, most elementary school do not which I know is just NOT right, one could even call it a sin (light humor).


“In the beginning God CREATED….” and what are we doing with our educational system, our kids, their creative spirits? Ken Robinson would say we are educating them out of their bodies and into their heads which in not where the future wants to go.

Creativity wants to be nurtured and anchored in little peoples hearts, minds, and bodies so that they can grow up and have access to that part of themselves in all aspects of their lives.




Carole Larson was the art teacher, previous class teacher, and friend of many, especially the Principal. I asked each kid, teacher, and parent volunteer to draw one butterfly for Carole, then they could draw anything else they wanted (except commercial products and words – we want them to explore being original).

I had just completed 2 projects that involved butterflies so I thought I’d just continue in this vein and butterflies have nice transformative energy and are light and ethereal. Last year I visited Nepal and was inspired by mandalas, I then worked with circles in schools on the playgrounds, and in commercial work.

I was a tad shocked when more than one teacher cringed when I offer them chalk to draw with. They were embarrassed about their art chops. I asked what kind of teachers they were if they felt that uncomfortable being creative? I felt for them, the educational system let them down and now they were letting their students down too.



Over 2 days at Valhalla Elementary School in Pleasant Hills, California we drew 600 butterflies. I’ve been creating some new 3D anamorphic perspective street paintings (chalk drawings) and was able to work on a larger butterfly piece for Carole while the entire school created around me.








All in all it was a brilliant experience, totally heart felt, making art for someone else, for a reason, dedicating one’s creative spirit to a greater whole. It was such an honor, really fun, kids are so interesting, silly, wired, weird, cute, honest, and game.

Mark Lewis Wagner
Founder and Creative Director of Drawing on Earth


501c3 nonprofit



SEE MORE WORK from Valhalla Elementary School through the Gallery