CHAPEL HILL — Life out to pasture’s been tough for Alexander Moo-lian Bow-vine.
The dapperly dressed cow is missing his oversize, Carolina blue bowtie after vandals struck late Tuesday or early Wednesday, said Danielle Bates, N.C. Children’s Hospital spokeswoman.
The handcrafted bowtie was stripped from the cow’s neck within 24 hours of it being placed outside the UNC Visitors’ Center on East Franklin Street, she said.
“Somebody had to go through some contortions to get it unbolted,” she said.
The Children’s Hospital is not interested in pressing charges, Bates said. Whoever took the bowtie should leave it at the front desk of the Children’s Hospital, located off Manning Drive, she said.
“This is an opportunity to come forward and bring it back – no harm, no foul,” she said.
If the bowtie is not returned by 5 p.m. Aug. 30, a $500 reward will be offered for information leading to an arrest. UNC Police are investigating and ask anyone who may have information to call 919-962-8100, spokesman Randy Young said.
Alexander Julian, UNC alumnus and internationally known fashion designer, designed Alexander Moo-lian Bow-vine in the style of his own clothing line. UNC alumni and artists Raines Thompson and Earle Thompson, of Kluttz Thompson Designs, crafted it from Julian’s design.
Earle Thompson said the bowtie is one of a kind, sculpted to scale from a Styrofoam block and covered in fiberglass. They then took it to a body shop in Salisbury to have the surface smoothed down, she said.
The cow is conservatively valued at $20,000, making it one of the exhibit’s signature and most valuable pieces, Bates said.
Julian said the thought that someone would harm the cow, especially on the UNC campus, “is very disappointing.”
The three-month CowParade North Carolina exhibition kicked off Saturday with a Round Up at the Golden Belt campus in Durham. The life-size fiberglass cows are “out to pasture” now across the Triangle area and will be auctioned in January to benefit the N.C. Children’s Hospital. Fifteen cows are scattered around Chapel Hill, with other cows in Durham and Raleigh.
“I only hope the bowtie is returned so Alexander Moo-lian Bow-vine can continue to bring joy to visitors and be auctioned to help so many sick children who depend on the hospital for world-class care,” Julian said in a news release.
Bates said there have been similar incidents at past CowParades in other states. The person who took the bowtie probably thought it was funny and didn’t understand the exhibit’s meaning, she said.