Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara

Kids Draw Architecture


Observe Your Environment Through Sketching

NEW DATE!! The KDA Sketch Session at the Old Mission Santa Barbara will take place on Sunday May 19, 2024.

Join us on May 19th from 1-3pm for the KDA Sketch Session at the Old Mission Santa Barbara. Artists’ drawings will be selected for the 2025 KDA Calendar.  

The 2024 KDA Calendar remains available for purchase at AFSB. 

The award-winning Kids Draw Architecture (KDA) program was developed in 1990 to enrich our community’s awareness of the built environment. KDA Sketch Sessions teach about the art, complexity, & importance of architecture. Young people are encouraged to sketch architectural landmarks during this fun and free activity held twice each spring guided by local architects and artists. 

Why Sketch?

Sketching is an important way to focus and see things unnoticed before. The result is a better understanding of the various aspects of architecture – functionality, artistry, and importance. The relaxing activity of sketching demonstrates to our youth that drawing is an honored important skill and that architecture is functional art.


At the Sketch Sessions, paper, drawing board, and pencil are provided along with handouts including “sketching perspective tips” and a description and history about the building and site in English and Spanish. Each year roughly 50 children come to draw the featured buildings that include Santa Barbara’s iconic “jewels” such as the Santa Barbara County Courthouse designed by William Mooser III, the Lobero Theatre, by George Washington Smith and Lutah Maria Riggs, and the Arlington Theatre by Edwards & Plunkett, to name a few. KDA is an activity that honors and highlights Santa Barbara’s unique personality and promotes understanding of the importance of architecture and design in the planning and development of our built environment. Many KDA participants return year after year and once they reach high school, some come to sketch or to help in other ways and can earn community service credits. Fantastically, some participants have gone on to study and work in architecture, engineering, planning, and other related fields.

Each year at the Sketch Sessions, the children can choose to submit their drawings to the KDA Committee. From the drawings collected that year, the committee selects a “cross sectional representation” of the work including examples from all the participating age groups. These drawings are featured in the annual calendar (designed to include as many drawings as possible), as well as in the annual KDA Gallery Exhibition. Sponsors help underwrite the cost of printing 300 or so calendars each year that are then sold at the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and several independent local bookstores. To inspire the community, AFSB gives calendars to Santa Barbara’s public officials, including the California Congressional Representative, State Senator, County Supervisors, City Council Members, and City and County Planning Commissioners, and others.

Join us for the annual Gallery Opening Reception & Party showcasing the 2024 KDA artist’s work. This year’s exhibition will take place at AFSB’s beautiful Acheson House Art Gallery in November from 1:00pm – 3:00 pm. The exhibition will be up until early January 2025. The 2024 KDA drawings will also be featured along with the American Institute of Architects Santa Barbara Chapter’s Design Matters exhibition at the Faulkner Gallery in early 2025.

These long-standing traditions each year recognizes and celebrates the artist’s work as the calendar drawings are framed and displayed in these special exhibitions.

To get involved with KDA or become a sponsor please email us at or call us at (805) 965-6307!


How to Draw Video

By Abi Savage
   Illustrator + Designer

KDA is proud to produce and share the annual calendar with our community.

Thank You to Our 2024 KDA Calendar Sponsors!!

Coast Reprographics and Leslie & Frank Schipper

Ashley & Vance, T&S Structural, Ensberg Jacobs Design, Santa Barbara Beautiful, Tri-Co Reprographics, JMPE

Van Sande Structural Consultants, Inc., Insulate SB, DMHA Architecture + Interior Design

Thorn Robertson, Sue & Rich Ayling, Brian Hofer Architect, Jacqueline S. Dyson

In Loving Memory of our dear friend Lori Kari