Cows about Cambridge raised a moovellous £257,100 in a charity auction hosted by celebrity auctioneer Charles Hanson at the Graduate Cambridge hotel yesterday evening.
The charity auction saw almost 300 in-person and online bidders compete to purchase one of 45 udderly unique lots: 41 life-size Cow sculptures and two mini moos, each painted or handcrafted by professional artists from the region and beyond, and two blank Cows. The average selling price for a sculpture was £5,800.
The auction was a fitting and fun finale for the Cows about Cambridge art trail, which has delighted thousands of local residents and visitors over the summer months. A total of 90 Cows, including 46 mini moos that have returned to the schools and community groups that created them, have been displayed in shopping centres and open spaces across the city centre. They have showcased the city’s scientific and cultural heritage, provoked important environmental conversations, and simply made people smile. Cows about Cambridge has been delivered by event producers Wild in Art in collaboration with beneficiary charity Break, principal partner Cambridge BID and official travel partners Thameslink.
“I’m delighted that we had so many moo-vers and shakers bidding in the room and online last night,” said Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Wild in Art. “It has been an honour to work with our partners in bringing this project to life in Cambridge, supporting both the high street and the arts sector and creating a feel-good factor within the city as we begin to emerge from what has been such a challenging period for everyone.”
“I’ve been blown away by Cambridge’s generous support. Thank you to each and every person and business who placed their bids last night,” commented Rachel Cowdry, CEO of Break – a charity working with children and young people on the edge of care, in care and leaving care.
“No young person in Break’s care has chosen their start to life. Every penny of this phenomenal total means we can raise aspirations, provide safe and stable homes and remove all limits on what children on the edge of care, in care and leaving care are able to achieve in Cambridgeshire.”
The two sculptures that received the highest bids at auction were both designed by artists local to Cambridge. MooMoo-o-Tron III, which also topped the public vote, achieved an amazing £16,000 and was the brainchild of Dinky Doors. A steam punk Cow complete with aliens, an elevator and eyes that light up at night, this Cow is part of an unexpected mission to save the world from relentlessly terrible news and wanton drudgery.
Said Team Dinky: “Gosh, we’re splendidly flabbergasted and frankly hugely humbled by the auction result last night. We’re still reeling a bit if we’re honest. That MooMoo generated so much interest both on the trail and at the auction is a little astonishing, but we couldn’t be more delighted that she raised such a healthy dollop of money for Break.
Such a brilliant cause. Thank you to everyone involved. We’re going to have a lie down now.”
Doodle Cow, designed by local graphic designer Anne-Marie Millar, generated the second-highest bid at a fantastic £10,000. This infographic-style Cow is designed to inform and entertain, incorporating bovine facts and figures as well as quirky references to Cambridge. The colour palette is a combination of Cambridge blue and red from the Red Poll breed that inspired the sculpture design.
“I’m completely blown away by the fantastic amount that Doodle Cow raised!” said Anne-Marie. “I couldn’t believe that the bids kept going up like they did. It was such a fun evening, and wonderful to see so much money raised for Break. The work they do is just incredible.”
Both of the top-selling Cows were initially sponsored by principal partner Cambridge BID. “Originally planned for spring 2020, Cows About Cambridge was perfectly timed this year,” said Ian Sandison, CEO of Cambridge BID.
“As the city began to welcome back visitors over the summer, the trail became a real focal point and has also helped residents reconnect with their city in a family-friendly, fun and safe way. The auction total is fantastic and the energy in the room was great – people have really missed the buzz of getting together.”
To view a breakdown of the auction results and find out more about the project, visit our news stories.