DURHAM — Holy cow.
CowParade, a public art project with a charitable bent, has come to the Triangle, with such notables in the 81-head herd as Sir Walter Cowleigh, Lady Carolina Bloo and Cowpernicus.
A few thousand painted-cow fans gathered at the Golden Belt campus in Durham on Saturday to walk among fiberglass statues transformed by artists into whimsical creatures with punny names.
The life-size cows came fitted with wings, goggles, a parachute, a bow tie, or sporting crutches. Children and adults marveled at the designs and posed for pictures with their favorites.
CowParades have been held as fundraisers in cities all over the world. Businesses sponsor the work, and artists receive $1,000 for each statue. Early next year, they will be sold at auction to benefit the N.C. Childrens Hospital.
Standing at the edge of the herd was Mookey, a cow painted to look like a sock monkey with button eyes, a red and white nose, and a red hat.
Mookey was doing double-duty as a piece of art and a reminder of the reason behind the display.
When children begin treatment at the hospital, they receive a sock monkey, explained Dylan Price of Greensboro, a 15-year-old who spent much of last year at the hospital being treated for leukemia.
The hospital offers a lot to its young patients to help them cope with extended stays, said his mother, Sandi Price.
Dylan enjoyed spending time in a high-tech game room that was donated to the hospital last year, she said, and had recreation therapy and music therapy.
Theres something going on there all the time that gets you through it, she said.
Dylan Price said he liked the cows with UNC-Chapel Hill themes.
Its really cool to see how people decide to paint their cows, he said.
Several artists found inspiration in UNC symbols, the Durham skyline and the UNC-Duke rivalry.
Paula MacLeod of Durham created a mosaic Lady Carolina Bloo from pieces of donated Italian dinnerware, porcelain and glass tile.
The piece was commissioned by the director of N.C. Childrens Promise, the fundraising department at Childrens Hospital.
MacLeod said she spent about 160 hours working on the mosaic cow, which is dominated by a rams head on one side and an Old Well on the other. Bloo also has distinctive eyelashes and udders that MacLeod described as lacy.
The cow weighs about 400 pounds, said her husband, Rodney Scurlock. Shaping pieces of stoneware to fit the contours of a cow was no simple thing, he said, but all the corners are shaved to eliminate sharp edges.
Somebody, somewhere is going to sit on it, he said.
The cows will spread out across North Carolina this week. They will be grazing in groups along Fayetteville Street and at North Hills in Raleigh, at the Golden Belt and American Tobacco campuses in Durham, and at the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.
A few will stand solo in other spots.
Wells Fargo, the CowParades main sponsor, will place the Paratrooper Cow, with its helmet, goggles, and open parachute, outside one if its branches in Fayetteville.
Eight-year-old Danny Rokose of Durham was impressed by Paratrooper Cow, but it was hard for the him to pick a favorite.
They just look nice, he said.