Palmetto Bay resident and artist AlJohn Farquharson attended Career Day at Coral Reef Elementary (CRE) on Dec. 10 and used the occasion to donate a copper sculpture he had created of a mother and baby dolphin to the school. The dolphin is the school mascot for CRE, and the sculpture also has the school’s initials at the base.
Coral Reef Elementary principal Christina Guerra, assistant principal Rachel Pierre-Louis, school staff and Palmetto Bay Mayor Karyn Cunningham attended the presentation outside the school. Guerra said she appreciated the thoughtful donation of the sculpture and the artist’s time spent explaining his artwork to the students.
“I am so fortunate to have Coral Reef Elementary families like Mr. and Mrs. Farquharson who are sharing their passion with art and love for the environment with our students,” Guerra said. “Mr. Farquharson shared how he is helping the environment by taking recycled materials and creating art for everyone to enjoy.”
Farquharson displayed a number of his sculptures in addition to the dolphins, including a guitar, swordfish, stingray, hat, rocking chair and Christmas tree, all made of copper tubing and sheeting.
Mateo, a third grade student, said he enjoys art and liked the dolphin sculpture.
“I think it’s pretty, cool, imaginary like in another world, and it’s awesome,” Mateo said. “I like sculptures because it’s hard work and they’re cool and they have shapes. And it’s great that he did the school mascot.”
Carla, a fourth grade student, is in the art club and liked the sculptures displayed by Farquharson.
“I think it’s very creative,” Carla said. “It’s helping the environment by making the trash around us be less trash around us.”
Addison, a fourth grade student, also liked the sculptures.
Farquharson’s son, James, is a first grade student at the school. He appreciated that his dad participated in the Career Day event and donated the dolphin sculpture.
“I think it’s good because he made it and it’s a piece of art,” James said.
It was Farquharson’s first Career Day introducing himself as an artist. He is a professional air-conditioning technician.
“That is normally my job, but I’m in the process of trying to be an artist, and in order to try to be something you have to just be it,” Farquharson said.
He explained what motivated him to donate the dolphin sculpture to the school.
“It’s my son’s school and I live close by, and it’s a neighborhood school and I like doing things in the neighborhood as much as possible,” Farquharson said. “The dolphin is the Coral Reef mascot so it was an obvious choice. I do it because I like doing things that can be seen and enjoyed by the public, in public, and hopefully it will stay there and be enjoyed for a long time, long after I’m gone.”