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Preschoolers create art to 'Save the Happies'

FALLBROOK — Fallbrook’s Art in Public Places (AIPP) supported the Mike Choate Early Development Center staff in staging a workshop for their students to create various versions of the “Happies” sculpture that stands at the corner of Fallbrook and South Mission.

The children’s finished art will be on display Saturday, November 14, as part of a fundraising effort to keep the sculptures in place.

The children participated in five different art-related activities, including sponge painting, dyed pasta noodle art, creating 3-D “Happies” sculptures using recycled materials such as toilet paper and paper towel tubes, being traced on yellow and red butcher paper as they made “happy” poses and painting pictures of the sculpture.

Local schoolchildren regularly pass the whimsical piece of art, created by artist Barrett DeBusk, each day as they arrive and leave the campus, and they associate the “Happies” with their school.

So, while supervision was provided by AIPP members, district staff and parents, the children all approached the art with their own individual ideas and unique perspectives.

Fallbrook’s loveable “Happies” were scheduled for de-installation later this year, as the piece was originally installed in 2008 as part of the new AIPP Art-On-Loan program.

However, interest by the community in making the piece a part of Fallbrook’s permanent public art collection drove the organization to help coordinate community fundraising efforts.

Between noon and 2 p.m. on November 14, the art created by the children will be on display at an open house/art show at the center, 407 South Mission.

The event will be open to the public and free of charge. To raise funds, tickets will be sold for $1 which may then be used to vote for favorite pieces of “Happies” art.

The winner of the People’s ‘Happies’ Choice Award will have his or her art piece displayed in the Fallbrook Art School campus lobby and will receive a gift certificate to be applied toward the cost of a class at the local art school.

Anyone unable to attend the show but interested in helping keep this piece of art in Fallbrook can make a donation through the end of November.

Donations may be made at or mailed to AIPP ‘Save the Happies,’ 103 South Main, Fallbrook, CA 92028.

For further information about this event, contact Mary Jo Bacik at (760) 451-9394.


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