Fallbrook, California's Art in Public Places "Fat Happies" sculpture was acquired through fund-raising efforts to become a permanent art enhancement. Designed by Texas-based sculptor Barrett DeBusk, the generous artist previously loaned the community his brightly colored steel sculpture that depicts two people dancing. This citizens liked enough to purchase it for an affordable $6,000.
Barrett DeBusk loaned Fat Happies to the city of Fallbrook In May 2008, and the sculpture quickly resonated with locals. Enamored with the art, kids at a nearby school hated to see it go, as did adults passing by the metal (abstract) human-shaped figures, one red and one yellow.
Each object composed as a mirror of the other, the symmetrical red or yellow metal sculptures each kick up one leg, and both arms. There are two see-through holes for eyes on perfectly circular heads, but the Happies have no noses, ears, mouths, hair, or other features such as hands and feet.
Normally DeBusk charges $30,000 for pieces such as Fat Happies, but that was out of reach for the community. They pitched in and raised funds, one-fifth the normal selling price, in exchange for a prominent installation the town could enjoy when passing by a well-traveled road.
Thanks to the efforts of people like Sandy LeMaster, chairman of the newly reorganized and re-energized Art in Public Places (a division of the Greater Fallbrook Center for the Arts Group,) an art corridor is being planned, and will run from the new library on Alvarado Street to the School of the Arts. Working with artists to beef up its art-on-loan program, Fallbrook sees its efforts as a cornerstone to tourism. Fine wineries, boutique dining, the recently renovated Pala Resort, small town charm, and art, all boost the town's image as a destination worthy of a visit.
With the help of the architect for the School of the Arts master plan, the group is gaining expertise in selecting sites to place art pieces.
Fallbrook Center for the Arts Group hopes to bring a couple pieces like the Fat Happies to Fallbrook.