San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Cow Parade Coming To San José

More than 100 cows will invade downtown San José next March.

They will be made of glass. Some may stand on two legs, and most definitely, they will be painted in intricate designs.

Cow Parade, a worldwide traveling art movement that uses life-size sculptures of the milk-producing farm animal, is coming to Costa Rica as part of the municipality’s efforts to make the country’s capital a pedestrian friendly tourist destination.

San José Mayor Johnny Araya said in a press conference last week that his administration has been working to transform the city into a place people want to visit, instead of just travel through, and the Cow Parade will provide a reason for people to come.

He said public art shows like this one improve a city’s attractiveness.

“Ever since I saw (the cows) in Buenos Aires and Madrid, I’ve wanted to bring them here,” Araya said. “A city without art is a city without soul.”

Costa Rica will be the first country in Central America to host the cows.

A total of 120 cows will be painted and decorated by local artists and then displayed in four spots in the city: Avenida Central, Ave. 4, National Park, MorazánPark, and the

Ricardo Jiménez Boulevard

, which connects the Legislative Assembly with the Supreme Court.

The colorful cows are slated to be on display from March to August 2008. Then they will be auctioned off and proceeds raised will go to charity organizations.

The San JoséMunicipality and two private companies, GPO Vallas and Giganto- Grafias, are the sponsors of the exhibit.

The cow parades started in Copenhagen, Switzerland eight years ago. Since then, the cows have visited more than 40 cities around the world, according to a release by GPO Vallas.

Any person residing in Costa Rica will be able to apply to decorate a cow by turning in designs of their ideas to the GigantoGrafias offices in the western suburb to Pavas (291-4831, 291-4840). A committee will scour through the applications, and those selected will receive $500 and a cow to decorate.

Artists in other cities have transformed the cows to just about everything from a desk to a blonde woman.


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