Community groups across Derry have been invited to take part in the world’s largest public art exhibition, CowParade.
CowParade Northern Ireland 2012 is looking to bring up to 200 life-size fibre glass cows to the streets of Derry, Belfast and further afield.
Now the organisers are looking for community groups to submit their own cows for display.
Cow Parade NI, in conjunction with Derry City Council, has devised a “Cow-Moonity Programme” for community and voluntary groups across Derry to design ten of the cows.
The winning designs will be developed and painted by an accredited artist working within a public painting space, either within your community or in another public venue.
When complete, the winning cows will be placed in one of the prime CowParade locations for the duration of the event, which will run from June to September.
CowParade will be launched at the Balmoral Show on May 18 when all the winning cows will be entered into a “Best of Breed” and “Best of Show” competition that will be judged at the show.
CowParade organiser Rachel Hart said: “We’re looking for unique and creative cow designs that reflect the vibrancy and culture of your community and its people. We want designs that tell your story and something of your heritage.”
Catherine Cooke, co-ordinator of the Foyle Women’s Information Network, added: “We’re really excited about CowParade and will definitely be taking part in this exciting competition and would encourage other community groups across the city to get involved with the fun.”
CowParade has taken place in more than 70 cities across the globe since it started in 1999.
It is estimated that more than 100 million people around the world have seen the cows and more than 5,000 artists have participated in CowParade - professional and amateur, famous and emerging, young and old.
In addition, charity partners have received in excess of £20 million from the auction of cows at the end of the event.
Ron Fox, of CowParade Holdings in Boston, said: “We are thrilled to be bringing CowParade to Northern Ireland - it is a very special place, full of creative talent and fun, hospitable people. I’m sure this will be one of the most successful events ever.”
Mayor of Derry Maurice Devenney added: “Cow Parade presents our city with an excellent opportunity to boost visitor numbers and involve local people in 2012 when we will host the Peace One Day Concert and Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in the lead up to 2013 when the City will host the first ever UK City of Culture City.
“Derry-Londonderry is fast becoming a must see European destination and we are delighted that this collaboration with Belfast will encourage increased visitors and spend to the city.”
While the cow sculptures remain the same, each city’s artists are “challenged by the creations from past events, inspired by the cultural influences and history of their city, and moved by their own interpretation of the cow as an object of art”.
A number of celebrities are the proud owners of cows, among them Elton John, Oprah Winfrey, Ringo Starr and Princess Firyal of Jordan.
The deadline for submitting entries is March 2, 2012. Full details of how to get involved are available from