Huntington Seacliff Elementary School got a rare visit from a pair of horses Tuesday morning.
The animals, brought to the school's front gate by volunteers from Red Bucket Equine Rescue, munched on plants in the garden and lowered their heads for a dozen children to pet them.
They may have been meeting the artists whose work will help find them a new home. Red Bucket, housed since 2009 at the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center, recently got notice from its landlord to move out this spring, and its leaders have begun fundraising for a new location.
If Red Bucket succeeds in that regard, it may have Seacliff partially to thank. The school launched a fundraiser this week in which students' artwork will be sold for charity, and it plans to split the proceeds evenly between the horse rescue service and the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center.
"All our family, we're animal lovers," said fourth-grader Sophia Cendro, whose mother, Wendy, helped spearhead the project.
The school and PTA collaborated with Worldwise Education, a Long Beach-based company that backs school fundraisers nationwide. Students submit artwork to the company, which creates a catalog in which parents and others can buy the images on cards, tote bags, water bottles and other items.
In the past, Seacliff has held Worldwise fundraisers to cover PTA expenses, but this year, Cendro and Principal Ann Sullivan reasoned that the school's own needs were met. Instead, they opted to divert the proceeds — up to 40% for every item sold — to a pair of nonprofits.
Since the school resides near the equestrian center and leads field trips to the wetlands, the recipients were easy enough to pick.
"It's something the kids can relate to," said Cendro, who owns a dog and once kept fish at home.
Every Seacliff teacher had students create artwork for Worldwise beginning in January, with some encouraging animal themes. The catalogs returned from the printer this week, and the school has until April 16 to place paper orders; afterward, items can be ordered online at http://www.artworkforeducation.com.
In addition to the catalog items, Worldwise selects some students' images for greeting cards that are sold at Whole Foods Market, with the school earning 50 cents from each sale.
Some schools have made thousands of dollars from the card sales, according to spokeswoman Joy Williams.
"We get a kick out of reviewing the artwork as it comes in," she said. "You wouldn't believe what we get sometimes."
Red Bucket President Susan Peirce said her group has raised about 80% of the funding it needs for a new location, and every contribution helps.
"We've had such an outpouring from our community," she said. "Our community believes these horses belong to them."