Dozens of miniature cows have escaped from their stalls ahead of the official Cows about Cambridge sculpture trail launch on Monday 28 June, and have been spotted browsing in shops, museums, libraries, galleries and leisure venues across Cambridge city centre this week.
All 46 escaping mini moos have been individually decorated by schools, colleges and community groups involved in the Cows about Cambridge Learning Programme. Each sculpture has a unique and colourful story to tell, with themes ranging from kindness and comedy to favourite books and school subjects. The Learning Programme has provided resources and lesson plans to encourage classroom creativity as well as cross-curricular conversations about a range of relevant topics, from climate change to construction.
“As soon as our mini moo was delivered it was called McFlurry, by the excited children in year 4 who set to work fundraising to pay for the project to happen,” says Alison Penney, class teacher and Artsmark Coordinator at Coates Primary School. “We sold milkshakes to raise the money, and we’ve never known children to be so enthusiastic for milkshakes! After gathering ideas from the children and staff, we designed the cow to reflect the personality of the school, being one of the few schools in the Fens to take part. McFlurry spent the next week journeying between all the classes, as each year group had a different section to complete.”
“The patchwork design on our mini moo was inspired by the history of Girlguiding,” says Amy Selby, Ranger at Girlguiding Cambridgeshire East. “Each panel relates to a different activity – such as camping, outdoor activities, the Promise we all make, and volunteering.” The organisation has even created a special badge available to everyone who visits Girls Can Do Anything, their mini moo. Amy explains: “In guiding, we all love a badge for our uniform or camp blanket!”
The St Mary’s School mini moo is decorated with symbols that represent the breadth of the school’s creative curriculum. “Our school community has enjoyed watching our mini moo become decorated,” comments Headmistress Charlotte Avery. “We hope that the whole herd of mini moos will give pleasure to those who live, work or visit Cambridge and help all of us become yet more mindful of the beauty of our natural surroundings and the importance of fenland and farmland to Cambridge and Cambridgeshire. St Mary’s School is delighted to be part of this innovative and ambitious community art project.”
Wild in Art is delivering the Cows about Cambridge art trail in association with children’s charity Break, and in partnership with principal partner Cambridge BID and travel partner Thameslink. The 46 mini moos will be joined by 44 moo-vellous life-size Cows on the trail, making this one of the largest mass-participation art projects ever to come to Cambridge.
Ben Reed, Head of Creative Development at Wild in Art said: “The Cows about Cambridge Learning Programme has given children and young people the opportunity to work creatively and get excited about arts and crafts as well as engaging them in important topics such as conservation. We are extremely proud to showcase their achievements. Thank you to everybody that has taken part.”
The Learning Programme has been sponsored by Morgan Sindall and MJS. Jamie Shearman, AreaDirector at Morgan Sindall Construction, says: “The Learning Programme provides the opportunity to engage with young people and highlight the amazing opportunities our industry offers. It’s great to highlight what an exciting sector construction is and how our teams have created developments that enrich communities like Bottisham Village College, ARU Science Centre and Wintringham Park Primary.”
Thameslink was also keen to get involved by running a mini moo design competition on the theme of health and wellbeing. The winning design, submitted by librarian Alice Billington, uses flowers, butterflies and the human form to convey the path to wellbeing. “The importance of good mental health is paramount for our staff and customers alike,” explained Charlotte Scallon, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Thameslink (GTR). It was wonderful to see the competition entries, giving people the opportunity to express positive mental health, and we look forward to seeing Alice’s winning mini moo in all her colour spreading happiness on the trail.”
The exact locations of the 46 miniature sculptures will be publicised when the trail goes live on Monday 28 June, but between now and then the mini moos will milk this preview opportunity. After 10 weeks on public display, the mini moos will return to their creators, as a lasting legacy of the trail. After a farewell weekend in September, the large Cows will be auctioned to raise funds for Break.
For more information on Cows about Cambridge, including the Girlguiding badge, visit cowsaboutcambridge.co.uk or follow the art trail on social media.
If you spot the cows out and about do tag your pictures with #CowsaboutCambridge