Lively cow art grazes local streets this weekend

La Jollans best brace themselves for a “mooving” experience when a herd of 40 colorful fiberglass cows descends on the Village on March 15.

Far from your ordinary Holsteins, these bodacious bovines have a flair for fashion. Fancifully decorated by top San Diego artists, these cows come dressed to impress.

This marks the West Coast debut of CowParade, a large public art event. Each stationary fiberglass cow weighs about 100 pounds and is attached to a heavy base bearing a plaque with the sponsor’s name. Of the 40 cows, 34 of them will be placed throughout the Village, and six will reside at University Towne Center (UTC).

“I call the UTC cows the marketing cows because their job is to show people a taste of the parade that will inspire them to go see the rest of the display,” said Bill Trumpfheller, director of CowParade La Jolla.

Jerry Elbaum founded the CowParade in Chicago 10 years ago. It quickly spawned similar events in 50 cities around the world - Prague, Paris, Rio and London.

“Thousands of cows have been seen all over the globe, and it’s built its own little following,” Trumpfheller said. “People who have seen it absolutely love it.”

Originally, the show was to include 200 cows displayed throughout San Diego, but after the economic downturn, the event was downsized to La Jolla.

CowParade La Jolla was produced in partnership with CowParade Holdings Corp. of West Hartford, Conn. The cows have corporate/ individual sponsors, including Union Bank, Metropolitan Transit, Jack In The Box, the Zoological Society of San Diego and La Jolla Light.

All proceeds from the auction held at the exhibit’s conclusion will go to San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital and the Zoological Society of San Diego.

After CowParade called for San Diego artists’ designs, they received 300 submissions.

“The art here is phenomenal,” Trumpfheller said. “Our local artists have done a great job with them. Our artistic coordinator, Sean Brannan, is managing everything for us and, unlike most public art projects, CowParade La Jolla is paying the artists to do the cows.”

One of the chosen cow artists, sculptor-mosaicist Jean Wells (known for her whimsical designs), painted denim pants with a double helix on the back pocket of her “Designer Gene” cow.

Her bovine wears bright red lipstick and a matching earring and necklace set of computer chips containing cow genomes. She spent more than two months completing her design, which is sponsored by University City’s Illumina.

The artists painted their cows at Liberty Station in a lab provided by The Corky McMillin Cos. Some of the cows got final touches this week - all in preparation for their big debut.

“We’re going to show people how cool these cows are,” Trumpfheller said.

La Jolla’s lively livestock will graze throughout the Village and UTC until June 15. For a


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