Two local artists have made their mark on Republican politics.
Megan Scronce and Lance Stewart were selected to paint the North Carolina elephant that was on display for the convention in Tampa Bay, Fla. a couple weeks back, and while balloons have since been popped and the GOP entourage has left town, the home-grown pachyderm will remain for a bit before being to its new home at the state Republican headquarters in Raleigh.
Scronce and Stewart’s design was part of the Herd About Tampa Bay, a project that will feature a parade of playful pachyderms displayed throughout the Tampa Bay area. Local artist
The pair won a contest allowing their design to become the state’s and, eventually, to travel to Tampa for the GOP convention.
Scronce explained that entering the contest to paint one of the elephants had nothing to do with politics.
“Lance and I saw getting a chance to paint one of the elephants as an expression of art. That is why I decided to make the application to paint one,” explained Scronce. “This was an opportunity that presented itself to me and I decided to be a part of something fun and exciting that would last.”
“The project is not meant to serve any political purpose, it is simply being executed to exhibit the talents of our local artists while the national spotlight is on the Tampa Bay area,” cited a representative of Tampa’s Outdoor Arts Foundation.
Ken Jones, chief executive officer of the Tampa Bay Host Committee, a local group that is raising private funds to help pay for certain costs associated with the convention, stated, “This is a unique and creative way to involve our community and display the tremendous talents of our local artists.”
There were over 50 uniquely decorated fiberglass pachyderms displayed in high-profile locations throughout the Tampa Bay Area, including downtown Tampa near the convention. The individual elephants were sponsored by local businesses and individuals and decorated by local artists. Artists from throughout Florida and selected artists from out-of-state were invited to submit design proposals for consideration. The Outdoor Arts Foundation had to approve each design.
The elephant painted by Scronce and Stewart was named Petty the Pachyderm. The state Republican Committee chose the name because North Carolina is known for its great NASCAR history and there is not greater NASCAR racer than North Carolina’s own Richard Petty.
Scronce designed Petty the Pachyderm to represent North Carolina. Petty’s shirt and pants were painted to look like the state flag. Lance did some fiberglass work around the elephant’s neck to make it appear to have a collar.
Stewart shared that it took about three weeks to complete the artwork.
“It was a lot of work, but Megan and I really found it fun to do. We truly feel honored to have the chance to create this work of art to represent North Carolina,” remarked Stewart. “It was an honor to work on such a great project that could represent the state of North Carolina. I think it was a creative way to raise awareness of such a public event through art.”
Scronce painted the sponsor logos that helped to pay for Petty and help raise funds to defray convention expenses.
“Painting Petty was really a work of love and I hope our art helped to inspire others as they looked at him. We hope he represented North Carolina well. It was a big deal to be selected to paint Petty, but in my opinion all the projects were big deals,” added Scronce.
Scronce also shared that Petty the Pachyderm was featured on FOX News during its convention coverage and was shown on the Today Show on NBC as well as in Tampa’s Outdoor Arts Foundation flier.
Petty the Pachyderm was transported to Florida in its own private plane escorted by a state Republican representative. Scronce was unsure of the specific individual.
“It was an honor to be the one to paint North Carolina’s elephant but I am more honored that our artwork may help others to become inspired in the arts. I believe we all need to do what we can to promote the arts any time we can,” asserted Scronce.