Artistic elephants to attract RNC visitors

By Melissa Eichman, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, April 09, 2012

The Tampa area is getting ready for an elephant invasion.

Local students and artists will be designing and decorating 4x4 fiberglass elephants to be showcased for the Republican National Convention.

'Herd about Tampa Bay?' is a partnership between the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee for the Republican National Convention and the 'Outdoor Arts Foundation,' to feature local artists and welcome people to the Bay area.

"It's really just about fun," said Jay Goulde, Executive Director, Outdoor Arts Foundation. "It's about doing something for the community and so we hope that will translate into the artwork."

We've seen similar projects featuring the turtle, manatee, and tarpon, now elephants are part of the fiberglass family.

Artist James Oleson owns a gallery in St. Petersburg and designed the elephant, which he describes as strong, proud, friendly and whimsical.

The unique herd of 50 to 100 elephants will cover a lot of ground in August.

"What we want to do is showcase awareness of the Tampa Bay community, said Host Committee President and CEO, Ken Jones. "That includes Clearwater, St. Pete and not just the city of Tampa, it includes people across the Bay."

The elephants will go on display about two weeks before the Republican National Convention.

You can see them across the Bay area, including places like Tampa International Airport, local businesses and right at the RNC.