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Cow Parade art will benefit local charities 

Cow parade– The Cow Parade, an arts movement that has raised over $30 million for local charities across the world, has landed in San Luis Obispo County. Three title charities have been selected: The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, Arts Obispo, and the California Mid-State Fair Heritage Foundation of Paso Robles, each to receive one-third of the net proceeds of life-size fiberglass resin cow sculptures painted by local artists and to be auctioned in Sept. 2016.

“We selected these three charities because each aligns with the Cow Parade’s emphasis on agriculture, education, tourism and the arts,” said Alan Vander Horst of Cow Parade SLO, who has led the charge in bringing the event to San Luis Obispo County. “They are, all of them, integral to the health and enrichment of our county.”

For over 30 years, The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, a local nonprofit land trust, has provided opportunities that bond people to the, “heritage, wonder and bounty of the community’s vital lands.” As one of the title charities, The Land Conservancy will dedicate 100 percent of the proceeds it receives from Cow Parade SLO to the development and completion of the Octagon Barn Center. The Octagon Barn, located just south of San Luis Obispo, is listed on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.

Once completed, the barn center is set to become the start and trailhead of the Bob Jones City-to-Sea Trail, as well as providing parking, restrooms and opening up the barn itself as a historic structure and event space for up to 200 people. The barn will also serve as a gateway to San Luis Obispo, welcoming visitors and residents alike as they arrive into the community. Depending on the amount of funds raised, conservancy hopes to open the barn for public use in 2016. For more information, visit

Arts Obispo, the San Luis Obispo County Arts Council and local partner of the California Arts Council, strives to advance the visual, literary and performing arts through programs that promote public access to the arts; arts in educational settings; local arts planning and collaboration; and opportunities for artists and cultural organizations. 2016 brings Arts Obispo’s 35th anniversary of public service. Programs like Art After Dark, Poetry Out Loud, Open Studios Art Tour and Arts Calendar connect artists and viewers, families and children, visitors and merchants countywide. Additionally, the organization advocates for arts education in ten school districts, manages public art campaigns, and facilitates peer-to-peer discussion groups for arts administrators. Proceeds raised from CowParade SLO will be used to establish a Re-Grant program to support the constellation of SLO County arts providers.

The California Mid-State Fair Heritage Foundation, Inc. of Paso Robles is a membership-based nonprofit organization that works to preserve and enrich the heritage of the 16th District Agricultural Association and showcases agricultural industries to the community. Key to the Heritage Foundation’s mission is offering support to the 4-H and FFA programs, creating agricultural education opportunities, and maintaining a standard of excellence and expansion in the Paso Robles Event Center facilities by implementing capital improvement programs. One hundred-percent received through membership and fundraising events for The Heritage Foundation goes back into the Mid-State Fair and Paso Robles Events Center.

Each life-size, seven-foot-long fiberglass resin cow sculpture painted and placed throughout San Luis Obispo County will display a plaque which includes information about the cow’s artist, the charity it benefits, its sponsor and the link to the cow’s web page. Viewers will also be able to donate directly to the featured charity via a “Donate Now” button on each cow’s page on the website at or via text. Should they desire it, sponsors of each individual cow may choose their own specific charities to benefit. The cows will be on display Jan. through Aug., and auctioned in Sept. 2016. Charities will benefit the net proceeds of the auction, which will be held live and on-line.




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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at