Putting the 'art' in 'heart'

COSTA MESA — She was born in Santa Cruz, she's been to Harvard University and back, and now she's a Costa Mesa resident who's just put the finishing touches on her latest piece of art.

It's a 45-pound fiberglass heart that will hopefully fetch thousands of dollars to help fund art instruction in the public elementary schools in Fullerton, where professional artists mentor teachers in the classroom at a time when such programs are under-funded by school districts.

At 31, Rebecca Faubion is one of those dyed-in-the-wool, true blue artists trying to make a difference in the way art is taught in the classroom.

And she's managing to do it from the confines of her apartment in Costa Mesa.

Her decorative piece of art, on a bubbly-shaped, prefabricated heart — formed in acrylic — took 40 hours to make. That included hours of sanding and priming before she brought out the delicate touch of her paint brush.

It's just one of 20 such fiberglass hearts that were on exhibit at the Fullerton Museum Center on Thursday night, and some of them have already been spoken for to the tune of $10,000.

That's just how much art lovers believe in the cause, Faubion said.

In the coming weeks, those hearts that have not been auctioned off will crop up around Fullerton in a special exhibit aimed at convincing art lovers to pull out their wallets for the All the Arts for All the Kids program.

Outlets for artistic expressions seem to be the exception rather than the rule these days, as work spaces become even harder to come by with struggling artists struggling even more in the down economy.

There was a time when Faubion would merely saunter down to the Rainey Fine Art Gallery in the old Bubbles Jazz Club on Balboa Peninsula at Palm and Balboa boulevards.

Well, that gallery "faded," she said, after the building was recently sold, leaving many of the artists searching for alternative work and display spaces.

"It was brilliant," says Faubion, somewhat fornlornly. "But the owner of the building had finanical troubles and decided to sell."

With a master's degree in arts in education from Harvard, Faubion said her primary dedication these days is to make a difference on a new canvas: the classroom.

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