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"Festival Elephant"

c. 2013-2019

Designed & Constructed by: John Gregory, Gary Williams, and Matt Gorgol


The Festival Elephant has a long history at Smither Park, being one of the first panels started. 

The original idea and structure for the elephant is the work of Matthew Gorgol.   Matt, an art student at University of Houston, had a part-time job teaching artists at the park how to create the mosaics and started the elephant as a teaching project. He demonstrated mixing mortar, shaping figures, and grouting.

The elephant sat for many years, evolving very slowly as various artists would add left-over mortar to the figure when they cleaned-up for the day. In 2018, John Gregory took on the task to finish the elephant.  The head and legs of the elephant were in place, but the elephant had no ears.   With ears added, inspiration followed.


Gary Williams and I partnered to create a colorful Indian elephant with a bright red background.

The structure of the trunk is a rain gutter.  The copper head dress was a roof vent salvaged from the dumpster at Frank Lloyd Wright house in Racine, Wisconsin.  The ornamentation includes costume jewelry from a friend’s mother. We made most of the colorful pieces at home on mesh then added to the body and connected the elements with gold-colored penny tile.

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