Where Did the Animals on Parade Idea Start?

In Zurich, Switzerland in 1996, Walter Knapp, father of artist Pascal Knapp, came up with the idea of creating a sculpture which would function as a unique, three dimensional canvas for artists participating in a proposed Zurich art exhibition. He asked his son to create a cow. After five weeks of work, two tons of modeling clay, and many modifications, Pascal completed the first of the cows. This led to production of fiberglass cows which were eventually used as a canvas for artists all over the world.

Why Cows?

According to Knapp, the cow "is an animal we all love. Cows are nurturing, whimsical, quirky, and never threatening. Cows provide the milk that fosters our development, and milk is the basis of beloved childhood treats like ice cream. In short, everyone loves cows!"


An Idea is Born

Several years ago, Eva Herlitz of Berlin visited New York City and was delighted by the painted cows she saw there. "The New York City Cow Parade," as it was called, raised $1.3 million for area charities. Eva got to thinking and the seed of an idea was planted. But this time, the painted animals would carry an important message - one of friendship, tolerance, and peace.

Albert the Bear

Flash back about 900 years. In Germany, there was a ruler named Albert the Bear. The story goes that it is because of Albert that the bear has become the symbol of the city of Berlin. This is where Eva Herlitz got the idea to use bears for the project.

Berlin has a long history with bears:

The Golden Bear of the Berlin International Film Festival

A Berlin Military logo

Postage stamp, 1988

Stuffed bear

Stained glass bear



©2004 Katharine Schroeder/Jackie Chan Kids Corner

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