It is probably one of the most amusing open-air art exhibitions and certainly the largest internationally. CowParade – the name of this unusual project – is an exhibition that is reborn in each city in which it is presented. Well-traveled idea A touring project that has so far taken place in 33 cities worldwide (among them New York, Moscow, Florence, Bucharest, Sao Paolo, Brussels, Prague and Barcelona), it will arrive in Athens at the beginning of May. Life-size cows made out of fiberglass and painted by Greek artists (not just visual artists) and designers who are interested in participating in the project will be placed all over the city just in time to celebrate spring and bring a countryfied atmosphere to the urban landscape. Happenings, recreational activities for children and parallel events are to be held, turning the exhibition into a lively, public project. CowParade is essentially a charity event. In each of the cities in which it is held, it is linked to a non-profit organization (the association «Mazi yia to Paidi» in Greece) that advances a different charity cause. Money is raised principally from the auction of the sculptures, which takes place toward the closing of the exhibition but is also collected via other parallel events. CowParade, which was first held in 1998 in Zurich, was conceived by Swiss artist and designer Walter Knapp as a way of giving exposure and opportunities of self-expression to local artists. Economy boost The idea grew into an international venture and, instead of just an exhibition, turned out to be a popular attraction that in several cities boosted tourism and the local economy. In Chicago, for example, the city’s tourism bureau estimates that CowParade brought a 500-million-dollar profit to the local economy and a total of 3 million visitors to the city. CowParade is a European success as well. In Manchester, Zurich and Brussels, there were over 1 million visitors each. With such attendance, participating artists are getting huge public exposure for their work. Artists Diamantis Aidinis and Tassos Pavlopoulos have already designed their cows, two playful works that will be included amid an estimated 75 that, in total, will make up the Athens CowParade. Interested artists are invited to submit their proposals by visiting the site www.cowparade.gr. Their works will bring color and fun to the city along with raising money for a charitable cause. The Athens CowParade is organized by Asset Ogilvy Public Relations SA and Goldair SA and held under the auspices of the City of Athens.