CowParade Comes to Northern Ireland

Artists urged to decorate life-sized sculptures in Belfast and Derry~Londonderry

2012 will be the year of the cow in Northern Ireland. The world’s largest public art exhibition, CowParade arrives in Belfast and Derry~Londonderry in May and will feature up to 200 life-sized fibreglass cows transformed into magnificent sculptures by local artists.

Presenting partners are Belfast City Council, Derry City Council and ILEX, Derry’s regeneration company, who have invited community groups in both cities to come forward with their designs for decorating their cows. The cows will be on display throughout Northern Ireland over the summer, and will form a spectacular attraction for residents and visitors alike.

CowParade has taken place in more than 70 cities worldwide 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 various events.

The event will formally open at the Balmoral Show in May and will take place all summer, culminating in a charity auction of the cows in October. This will be the first time, however, that the world famous art event has been held across a large region.

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.'

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile, added: 'This is undoubtedly a hugely important year for tourism in Belfast, and one during which the eyes of the world are very firmly focussed on us. The more attractions we can offer to visitors, the more reasons we can give people to talk about Belfast – and, most importantly, to come visit us, the better.

'CowParade, therefore, is a vital element of our city dressing and marketing campaign in 2012, and we look forward to seeing the colourful cows – designed and produced, of course, by our finest community artists – helping people to discover more about our city.'

The Mayor of Derry~Londonderry, Alderman Maurice Devenney said: 'CowParade 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.'

Community groups from Belfast and Derry~Londonderry are being invited to submit design concepts for the decoration of a cow, and the winning ten from each city will then be painted by an artist.

Community Groups, artists and sponsors interested in participating can find full details and entrance guidelines on the official event website at CowParade NI website.