Cows Come Home to Chicago's Mag Mile

Cows Come Home to Chicago's Mag Mile
Mooving Eli from Eli's Cheesecake

They’re back.

If you were around in 1999, you probably remember, Cows on Parade. That summer, under the leadership of Lois Weisberg, commissioner of Cultural Affairs, Chicago rolled out a public art installation like no other that drew both locals and visitors to the city in droves.

Fiberglass cows, 300 life-sized bovines–decorated by local artists were everywhere and the people loved it. 

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the beloved Cows on Parade public art campaign, the cows are coming home.

Holy Cow--Harry Caray.

Holy Cow–Harry Caray.

Not all of them, just a small sampling.

But if you didn’t see the original bovines or are just feeling nostalgic you may want to take a look.

The Magnificent Mile Association has rounded up in the neighborhood of twenty of the original herd in Jane Byrne Park, alongside the historic Water Tower, that will be on view throughout the month of July.

Ford Red originally at Madison and Derborn.

Ford Red originally at Madison and Derborn.

“We released a Public Art Plan and celebrated a Year of Public Art in Chicago in 2017, with a goal to make public art a defining characteristic of Chicago,” explains Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “Twenty years ago, the cows defined a public art movement. Today, Chicago is home to one of the greatest public art collections worldwide.”

Smile. Hanigs Footwear.

Smile. Hanigs Footwear.

Public art projects since 1999 have featured Horses of Honor, K9s for Cops, and most recently Lighthouses on The Magnificent Mile. And now, several sculptures from the painted herd return for a limited run.

The “Cows Come Home” 20-Year Reunion kicks off a summer of public art on The Magnificent Mile. Later this summer, The Magnificent Mile Association will join the 150th anniversary celebration of the historic Water Tower by installing 25+ custom-designed, 5-foot replicas of the iconic landmark along North Michigan Avenue.

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