Creating a Mascot by Sharon Webb

What better mascot for an art organization than a giant 5′ salamander? After all The Great Smoky Mountains are known as the “Salamander Capital of the World!” Salamanders are an especially abundant and diverse group in the Great Smokies. In fact, the great majority of vertebrate (backboned) animals, including human visitors, in the park on any given day are salamanders.

The members of Townsend Artisan Guild were all for the adventure.  But where to find the salamander?  Fortunately our members are as diverse as the salamander population and not only a creative bunch but also willing to donate.  The original salamander was donated by Evelyn Bryant and came from Florida, therefore the “gecko-ish” look to him.

It was decided by the group to hang the potential mascot on the east side of the Gallery building which added an “artsy” visual attraction for folks traveling East to West on Lamar Alexander Parkway.  Taking it upon myself to “transform” Mr. Gecko to an native inhabitant of East Tennessee, I took him home to work some sculpting magic.    He lived in my garage for a couple months while I worked on making him look not only more like a salamander but also determining the best method for weather proofing.   

I sanded.  Layered,



Layered again, and again


Fluffed and stuffed him to be more the shape of a realistic salamander.


Painted again, and again

Sealed and sealed and sealed.



Finally he found his way home to the Gallery.  Many thanks to Bill Shinn, master salamander installer guy, for managing to install the 5′ sculpture to a rock wall!


Thanks to all the members of Townsend Artisan Guild for participating in this venture.  It was truly a group effort.  The original donation by Evelyn Bryant, the input and ideas of the studio artists, Susan Cooper obtaining permission from the owner of the building and the City of Townsend, the artist contributions for ideas on mounting him on the wall, etc.  The list goes on.  The forum is open and all members invited to contribute via this blog for a name for the newest member of TAG.

Townsend Artisan Guild Gallery and Studios

7719 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy.

PO Box 403

Townsend, TN


Wednesday-Saturday    10:00 – 5:00

Sunday                            1:30 – 5:00



11 thoughts on “Creating a Mascot by Sharon Webb”

  1. Sharon, you certainly transformed it into a beautiful salamander, and all I can say is WOW!!
    You and your creative talent never cease to amaze me. Thank you.

  2. Sharon, you did a beautiful job of re-sculpting the gecko into a salamander! I appreciate all of your work on him. I second Deborah’s suggestion for naming him “Art”.

  3. Well I guess you have it. He needs a name after all would a female be hanging around like that?

    The elk was named Henry so I think …..Art ….(aka Arthur) might be a good name.

  4. Well, I saw the critter lounging in the gallery last week, and today he was crawling out on the rock wall.
    What a beauty!

  5. Looks wonderful. How about ‘Alex, or Alexander, or Xander? ( short for ‘Xander the salamander’… but I’m sure you saw that)

  6. I look forward to seeing the mascot in person on Friday! Thank you for this endeavor and your tireless work.

  7. Great and impressive job!!
    Sharon, you did a fantastic job as always.
    I would suggest naming her Tagie or Townie or Sally.

  8. He’s cute! Thank you for all your hard work Sharon, including the gecko Salamander transformation ♡

  9. What a beautiful and unique way to draw more attention to the beautiful creations within.
    Sharon…. as always realistic and filled with “life”!!!
    All the best to the “mascot” to be a symbol for Creation in the Great Smokey Mountains.

  10. He looks beautiful. It is a he? Look forward to getting back to Townsend to the gallery in a few weeks.

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