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Cal Poly Joins the CowParade


Kyleigh Metzger, Cody Mindling and Kristen Meadows designed and painted the official university cow, “Cal Poly MOOstang.” Photo by Blake Silva

Art and agriculture come together on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., when the Madonna Inn and Expo kicks off CowParade San Luis Obispo County — and Cal Poly will be part of the herd.

CowParade is the largest public art event in the world, founded in Chicago in 1999 and involving 79 cities and communities around the globe. The event brings local artists together to decorate life-sized fiberglass cows, which are later auctioned off for charity.

This is the first time San Luis Obispo will be part of the global event.

Four cows representing Cal Poly will be part of the exhibition. The President’s Office is sponsoring one cow, titled “The Cal Poly MOOstang.” The cow was decorated by art and design students Kristin Meadows, Kyleigh Metzger and Cody Mindling, three student designers from the university’s Creative Services department (above).

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) is also sponsoring four cows. “SLO COWnty Brands,” painted by agricultural communications student Annierose Siefert and representing the college as a whole, is inspired by historic cattle brands from around the Central Coast, including Cal Poly’s own Bar P icon (above).

“See Cow Do” is sponsored by the Experience Industry Management Department (formerly Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration). It was painted by local artist Deprise Brescia, who took inspiration from California’s iconic travel destinations.

“Legends of Cow Poly” represents the Dairy Science Department, and is a tribute to the Learn by Doing principle that is the cornerstone of the department’s legacy of training dairy industry leaders.

“Micow Distillery,” designed by sculptor Bouba Boumaiz and sponsored by a parent of a CAFES student, highlights the college’s fermentation sciences program, currently under development.

The opening event on Sept. 17 is free to the public and will include food and drinks for purchase. The following week, members of the herd will begin “grazing” in public places across the county, including on the Cal Poly campus, for the next seven months.

The event will conclude at a fundraising gala in May, when the cows will be auctioned off to benefit the Land Conservancy of SLO County, ARTS Obispo, and the California Mid-State Fair Heritage Foundation, as well as several other charities designated by the cow sponsors.

For more information visit

—By Larry Peña

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