In 2002, the Washington, D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities unveiled 200 fiberglass sculptures decorated by 200 local artists as part of a large citywide display, capitalizing on the popularity of the international Cow Parade public art exhibit.
Because it’s D.C., these “Party Animals” took on a bipartisan political theme, with 100 donkeys and 100 elephants. They were given whimsical names like “Ella Phantsgerald” or “Workers ASSet.”
While not all artists used politically-themed decorations, some took that theme and ran with it. “Strom” is one of those. The elephant statue is made up to look like a woolly mammoth and is named for the late South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, who at the time had recently retired as the oldest and longest-serving senator.
This sculpture was sponsored by and originally displayed outside the headquarters of the National Geographic Society. The mammoth, as well as the other Party Animals, were later sold at auction, and the strange Strom sculpture now sits outside a private residence.