Q. What is Cows about Cambridge?
Cows about Cambridge was a stunning, free, public art trail of 90 individually designed Cow sculptures which took place in Cambridge from 28 June – 4 September 2021. The cows were created by professional and emerging artists from Cambridgeshire, the East of England and across the UK. Forming a trail of discovery, the sculptures provided an exceptional, creative opportunity to open up conversations about important topics – from environmental issues and the natural world, to citizenship, and health and wellbeing, to name a few.
An inspirational Learning Programme gave schools, colleges and community youth groups the chance to take part with their own mini moo Cow sculptures.
After entertaining and getting people outdoors, walking more, and sharing their stories, the herd of sculptures came together for a special farewell event. It gave everyone a last chance to see the Cows, meet some of the artists involved, and preview the cows before the charity auction!
At the end of the trail, the legacy of Cows about Cambridge continued as many of the sculptures took centre stage at a glittering auction to raise vital funds for Break (Registered Charity No 286650). Break make life better for vulnerable young people and families across East Anglia.
Q. What happened to the Cow sculptures at the end of the art trail?
The Cows came together for a special farewell event from 17 – 19 September 2021. It gave everyone a last chance to see 49 Cows, meet the team, collect the final app codes, and choose one to bid for at the charity auction which raised vital funds for Break (Registered Charity No 286650).
The Learning Programme’s mini moo Cows and the sculptures decorated by community groups have been be returned to the schools and communities that created them. They are a permanent reminder and legacy of their achievements.
Q. Why was the sculpture a cow?
The Cow sculpture was been specially commissioned and created just for Cambridge by Wild in Art’s Creative Director Chris Wilkinson. It is inspired by the rare Red Poll cattle breed, which in the warmer months you can find grazing on Midsummer Common.
Q. Who is behind Cows about Cambridge?
Wild in Art and Break produced Cows about Cambridge. They were supported by inaugural sponsor and Principal Partner, Cambridge Business Improvement District (BID) and official travel partner, Thameslink.
Wild in Art and Break were responsible for delivering all aspects of the event, from securing the sponsorship, running the Art and Learning Programmes, the operations and logistics, event management and marketing. The charity beneficiary is Break (Registered Charity No 286650).
Q. How was it funded?
Staging large-scale events requires a lot of upfront investment. The support of companies to take up sponsorship packages is critical.
The private sector funded the event by purchasing sponsorship packages ranging from £7k to up to £50k.
The money from the purchase of sponsorship packages goes towards covering the cost of manufacturing the sculpture, paying the artists who decorate the sculptures, and the entire event infrastructure, operations and logistics for putting the sculptures on the streets, and all Cows about Cambridge associated events.
Q. How did the event work?
A feel-good campaign we can all be proud of, Cows about Cambridge connected corporate, public and community partners around the city, providing a new and uniquely creative avenue for collaboration. All while supporting a local charity.
Businesses, community groups and education establishments sponsored the blank Cow sculptures – the 3D canvas!
New and established artists were invited to submit designs to transform the blank Cow with individual artworks. Design ideas were presented to sponsors in September 2019 who each selected their favourite. Successful artists were commissioned to apply their designs – ranging from traditional to new media, fine art to illustration, graffiti and mosaic – to the sculptures.
Once all the Cows were decorated, they appeared in our streets, parks and open spaces in a free 10-week art trail. Residents and visitors, young and old, explored the trail using a bespoke Cows about Cambridge map and mobile app. These helped them navigate around the city, discover new places and unlock exciting rewards and discounts provided by sponsors.
After entertaining and getting people outdoors, walking more, and sharing their stories, the herd of sculptures came together for a special farewell event. It gave everyone a last chance to see the Cows, meet some of the artists involved, and preview the cows in advance of the charity auction to raise vital funds for Break (Registered Charity No 286650).
Q. What is the environmental impact of the sculptures and the plinth?
The sculptures don’t go to landfill; all large sculptures are works of art and find their forever homes through the auction process or with the community group that created them, leaving a legacy from the project and can be enjoyed for year’s to come. The mini moo sculptures go back to the schools and clubs that created them to be displayed on their premises.
Wild in Art continue to investigate alternatives to fibreglass. Part of our Research and Development budget is dedicated to looking at alternatives to fibreglass sculptures.
Concrete plinths are often the most effective method for anchoring and displaying the sculptures safely and securely. We endeavour to reuse concrete plinths across our events and the team are currently testing recyclable plinths made from waste plastic.
Q. Was the Cambridge Cow a new sculpture for Wild in Art?
Yes. Although we’ve created Cow sculptures before, the Cow for Cows about Cambridge was specially designed for this event. It is inspired by rare Red Poll cattle breed, which in the warmer months you can find grazing on Cambridge’s Midsummer Common.
Q. What is Wild in Art’s environmental impact ethos?
Wild in Art believes all businesses should adhere to a good environmental practice and operate in a sustainable manner. Wild in Art are therefore committed to reducing their environmental impact and continually improving our environmental performance as an integral and fundamental part of our business strategy and operating methods.
It is their priority to encourage partners, customers, suppliers and all business associates to do the same. Not only is this sound commercial sense for all; it is also a matter of delivering on our duty of care towards future generations.
Examples of putting our Environmental Policy into practice include:
- The team taking public transport wherever possible.
- Facilities to recycle paper and other items in our offices.
- Using suppliers and commissioning artists that are local to our events wherever possible.
- Using manufactures in the UK for sculptures and merchandise when feasible.
- For every large sculpture we exhibit, three trees will be planted by to help recover the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil as part of a project by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and their partners at Instituto de Pesquisas Ecoló More information about the initiative can be found at: durrell.org/wildlife/atlantic.