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“Bright Beauty” by Morgan Finlet and Kent Baker.
“Bright Beauty” by Morgan Finlet and Kent Baker.

By Andrea Papagianis

This spring, as a parade of elephants were decorated and prepared for a journey to Dana Point, more than 2,000 fourth- and fifth-grade students in the Capistrano Unified School District were immersed in a two-week program, learning about the endangered creatures who call southern Asia home, Asian elephants.

After learning of the animals’ struggles with abuse, domestication and injury, students created designs for the Elephant Parade, an open-air exhibit and the Asian Elephant Foundation’s largest fundraiser to aid the species. Some fifty designs were chosen and those students transferred their vision to miniature elephant sculptures. A colorful, and intricate, geometric design by 11-year-old Morgan Finlet, from Ambuehl Elementary School, was picked out of the herd a placed on a large, baby elephant sculpture by visual arts instructor Kent Baker, from Capistrano Valley High School.

Each week the Dana Point Times will highlight one local or regional artist’s contribution to the Elephant Parade: Welcome to America that is on display around town until early November.

ELEPHANT: “Bright Beauty”

ARTIST: Designed by Morgan Finlet, 11, from Ambuehl Elementary School, and transferred to the elephant statue by Kent Baker, the visual arts instructor at Capistrano Valley High School

LOCATION: Strand Vista Park, located on Selva Road west of Pacific Coast Highway

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