From: Herald Courier
Erwin’s artsy elephants on parade seek to redeem town’s past
Visitors to downtown Erwin, Tennessee, this summer will not have failed to notice the parade of colorful pachyderms on display through the recently renewed blocks along Main Avenue.
Like last year, the eight elephant sculptures — whimsically painted by local artists — will be auctioned in October to raise funds for the The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, as well as other local charities. Last year’s contributing painters included Laura Lavinder, a young artist from Bristol.
Jamie Rice serves as president of RISE Erwin, a non-profit, grassroots organization of young professionals that got together in the wake of the closure of CSX and its railroad facilities in the town in October of 2015.
Rice said the annual display of elephant sculpture arose as part of a concerted effort to make lemonade from lemons.
“We also wanted to lift spirits,” she recalled. “We needed to get out of the mourning of the loss of the railroad.”