Who knew the words “cow” and “fine art” would ever be used in the same sentence? But apparently, this combination has become the world’s largest public art event.
It all began in 1998, when a Zurich sculptor made 812 fiberglass, life-size cows for local artists to decorate. The cows were placed all around the city, and the Cow Parade drew 1.5 million additional tourists to Zurich that year.
The following year, Chicago artists decorated over 300 cows that paraded through the Windy City streets for a few months before being auctioned off in November 1999. The cows raised $3 million for charity. The highest cow was auctioned for $110,000. Talk about a cash cow!
But the cows didn’t stop there. Since 2000 the Cow Parade has grazed in dozens of countries, including Australia, England, South Africa, Spain, Italy, Russia, and Japan. (And while we don’t like to admit it, the cows get around more than IT does.)