Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Buffalo Stampede/Cow Parade

Ever since I knew about the Cow Parade art display that has occurred all over the world, I thought it would be easy to incorporate art history into this idea.
When I was a student teacher 3 years ago, I gave a history of the Cow Parade and used the display in Kansas City that was done several years ago to use as example images.  Making the Kansas City display prominent in my information wasn't crucial, but made it seem more relevant to my students since we live in Kansas.  I had my students draw a cow and then draw in a photo that paid homage to a famous artist.  Then they added color with colored pencil or paint.

The results I saw were pretty neat and I've always wanted to do something similar to this again.  When I moved to my school and started my job I couldn't quite figure out how to make the project different but see similar results.  Over the summer I thought it would be cool to find a plastic mold that could be used and filled with plaster of paris.  My school's mascot is the buffalo so I thought doing a buffalo instead of a cow would fit a little better.  I searched for a long time but finally found a mold!

I think the results were good but the process was a little hairy!  We used about twice as much plaster of paris than I thought we would need and the results when my students mixed were very inconsistent.  Half of my students worked on this project while the other half worked on the CD printmaking so I was floating around the room a lot.  While mixing the plaster my students didn't always have direct supervision and I believe this resulted in a few mishaps where the plaster/water ratio wasn't quite right because the plaster hardened very quickly.  After a while things seemed to work out much better but we used A LOT of plaster and it was a HUGE mess and a few had some minor breakage!
If I did this project again, I'd like to find something different rather than plaster to fill the molds.

I would like to display these somehow but I don't have a display case and I'm not sure how else to display them so I may just end up sending them home.

Here are some of my favorites:

Grant Wood

Vincent Van Gogh

Keith Herring

Jackson Pollock
This one is done by a regional artist, I believe from Texas.  I can't remember his name, but
one of my boys was indecisive but found this and is really into farming/country life so I let
him do this one. 

Georgia O'Keeffe

Edgar Degas

Georgia O'Keeffe

Georges Rouault

Edouard Manet


  1. Wow! You have some talented kids! Talented teacher!

  2. Amy, these are AWESOME!!! I'm tweeting this... :)

  3. These are great! What grade level did these?

  4. My high school students did these. With multiple projects going on at once, I did little help on any of these. I was pretty impressed with the skills I saw that makes me excited to do some more painting this semester with my kids!

  5. Was the last one supposed to be Claude Monet?

  6. I just realized you said you had no place to display your sculptures-Unacceptable! These NEED to be on display! Have you asked the PTO to help you purchase a display case? The shop teacher to have the kids build one? Have a fundraiser to raise $ for one? I teach Elementary art and I have display case(s). I'm just saying.......

  7. Nice work on the buffalo! I am hoping to do a 3D cow parade lesson plan as soon as I can find plastic or ceramic cows (maybe creamers?) for <$1 each. No luck so far. You are one brave woman to attempt plaster.

    Rina at

  8. These are amazing Amy! I love them and I may have to figure out a way to do something similar in our school!