CLEARWATER - Who doesn't love a parade? In this case, it's a parade of elephants which has come to town. And no, the ten large mammals with long prehensile trunks and large tusks are not with a circus. Instead, they are capturing the attention of many a visitor to the Clearwater Main Library. Not to worry. These elephants are not alive. They are part of a public art project titled The 2006 International Parade of Carousel Elephants.
The public is invited to meet some of the artists who designed and decorated the elephants at a reception at the library, 100 N. Osceola Ave., from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 30. The artists will be introduced by Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel of the Patel Foundation for Global Understanding, sponsor of the exhibit. Admission is free. Reservations are not required.
Elephants were selected to represent the globalization of all nations and nationalities. Representing the United States is a colorful elephant named "Edith", which was designed, painted and decorated by artist Gayle Deal as a salute to the courage and resiliency of the city of New Orleans and its citizens. Deal employed the use of the color green for faith, purple for justice and gold for power in her artwork. The trumpet in the elephant's trunk and the sheet music adorning its back call attention to the city's musical heritage. The base of the statue is covered with hundreds of colorful beads in recognition of its annual Mardi Gras celebration and the carousel pole is a street light featuring the famous Bourbon St. sign. Deal also included crawfish in the decorations to highlight New Orleans' renowned cuisine. "Edith" indeed reflects the city's colorful history as intended.
All of the elephants in the show sport raised trunks, a sign of good luck. The Parade of Carousel Elephants will be on display at the library until January 1. Sponsors will take possession of their elephants following a year-long tour throughout the Tampa Bay area. "Edith" is sponsored by Compass Bank. Sponsorship is still available for certain elephants. For more information on this event, you may call 562-4970, ext. 5284.
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