What is the CowParade?
Austin is welcoming a herd of new art to its streets. If you haven’t seen them yet, the next time you’re downtown, you will probably come across one of the colorful, unique cows. Yes, cows. These 125-pound, flame-retardant fiberglass creations are part of the 2011 CowParade.
The CowParade concept was started by Jerry Elbaum in 1998, and he launched the event in Zurich. The next year, Elbaum brought the event to Chicago under the CowParade name. Since then, it has grown into a global event with more than 3,000 cows created so far. According to CowParade’s website, the exhibits have appeared in 75 cities and 30 countries and have been viewed by more than 1.5 billion people.
But why cows? Vice President of CowParade Ron Fox says cows are a universally recognized and beloved animal. The event’s website goes on to explain:
The cow represents different things to different people around the world-she's sacred, she's historical, she connects us to our past-but the common feeling is one of affection. There is something magical about the cow that transcends throughout the world. She simply makes everyone smile.
Each cow functions as a blank canvas for local artists’ creative genius. Artists go through a selection process that includes the submission of a proposed art concept and cow name.
Since CowParade is moooving into Austin this year, one of KVUE’s own decided to apply to be a cow artist. KVUE photographer Doug Naugle was selected, and says his cow will be named “The Blazing Bovine.”
True to its name, Naugle’s cow will be flaming with vibrant colors – red, yellow, orange, and purple.
“I do a drip and flow method,” said Naugle, explaining the way he will paint the cow. “Each time is different…I let gravity do a lot of the work for me. The colors are really wet, and a lot of the colors mix as they flow down the cow and merge together. The finished product looks very organic, which is perfect if you’re a cow!”
Artists can get as creative as they’d like with their designs. In the Austin parade, one cow has even had its center removed and replaced with a xylophone that can be played by the public.
On Nov. 13, about 50 of the cows will be sold at a live auction gala at the ACL Moody Theater. The proceeds benefit the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas’ Superhero Kids Fund.
No matter the city, each CowParade has a charitable component. According to their website, the event has raised over $30 million for its nonprofit partners.
The average cow garners $10,000. Fox says prices can range from $7,500 to $100,000, though the highest price a cow has fetched at auction was $146,000. That cow was a Waterford Crystal cow sold in Dublin, Ireland.
What if you don’t want a cumbersome 95" long x 29" wide x 57" high cow displayed on your driveway? Perhaps consider buying one of CowParade’s miniature figurines. Each figurine is an exact replica of an authentic cow created as part of a CowParade event. There are more than 500 figurines in the collection. Click here for the CowParade store.
If you’d like to see the CowParade Austin, click here for a map of the cows’ locations.
Click here for more information on CowParade Austin.
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