It all began with “CowParade,” a public art display of giant fiberglass cows hosted by the City of Zurich, Switzerland in 1998. Decorated by local artists and then displayed all over the city, the sculptures were ultimately auctioned off to benefit charity. The event was so successful and well-received that it became the impetus for iconic public art displays all over the world.
Chicago was the first to mimic the concept; in a nod to its history as a meat packing center, fiberglass cows were scattered throughout the Loop in 1999. Since then, scores of copy-cat events around the world have featured sculptures of whatever animal or item best represents the sponsoring city.
Sarasota, Florida, also known as Circus Capital of the World, chose clowns. The Outer Banks of North Carolina, during the centennial celebration of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first motorized flight, attached metal wings to mustangs, merging “First Flight” with its reputation as home to one of the largest herds of Spanish mustangs still remaining in the wild. And in Miami’s South Beach, five-foot tall flamingos still peek from gardens and line the broad boulevards. The list goes on: Los Angeles sponsored angels; Hendersonville, North Carolina exhibited giant apples; and Norfolk, Virginia had mermaids. Continue reading