'Handcow' gets hands-on colors

By Carolyn Barbre

Standing in a far corner of the Lindsay High School Library, where new textbooks are still in boxes and a bunch of computers headed for the shop or dust bin are stacked on a desk, "Handcow" stands almost daintily on a drop cloth while Heather Hurtado, Alex Hernandez and Maria Hernandez apply bright acrylic paint to her matt-gray fiberglass hide.

Handcow is kicking off the Lindsay Cultural Arts Council Cattle Drive to raise money for the proposed Lindsay Museum/Cultural Arts Center. She was paid for by the anonymous "Friends of the City of Lindsay." Sponsoring a cow costs $1,500.

The three high school juniors have their work cut out for them. In just two weeks (of spare time beyond school work and other responsibilities) they have been asked to have the cow ready to display at the World Ag Expo. It's not fair, but sometimes "flying by the seat of your pants" seems the only way to get things done at all, not to mention in a timely fashion, that otherwise seem to be very obtuse, uncooperative and red tapish. But the kids are doing a great job and seem to be having some fun at the same time.

Heather said she has been doing art since she was a little girl. It is her original design that is being used on the cow. "Art kind of runs in the family. My cousin and uncle kind of taught me to draw. I also have an uncle that dances," she said. Heather and her assistants have carefully penciled in the design and written in the appropriate colors, in a very much paint-by-the-numbers technique. That was already a very big job. Now they are applying some acrylic paint mostly in bright primary colors. But it is going to take a couple of coats. A part of the design consists of the outline of hands in different colors. "That's kind of the point," Heather said, "showing all of the different cultures and kinds of people in Lindsay."

Maria said she didn't know what caused her interest in art. "I like to paint," she said. Maria had submitted a cow design she named "Aztec Cow," which could very well appear in the cattle drive. Alex has a wry sense of humor. He submitted a design for a "Holy Cow" complete with a gown and halo. "I just like to draw," he said. But he admitted he has thought about going to a college for the arts.

LCAC would like to find another 200 sponsors, primarily in the dairy industry, but local businesses and philanthropists are invited to participate. Once people have signed on and gotten their cows painted, the cows will begin appearing in locations around town as an added tourist draw over the summer. The sponsors name, name of the artist(s) and cow name will be placed on a plaque at the base of the cow. In the fall there will be an auction, for which it is hoped most sponsors will donate their cows.

For more information contact LCAC President Peggy Sanders at 562-4304.

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