Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Roping some horsepower.(Arts & Culture)

Byline: Story by Anthony DellaFlora *Photographs by Mark Holm Of the Journal

Project leader hopes 'Trail of Painted Ponies' leads to more tourism, funds for charities

If the public art scene in the United States is beginning to resemble Old McDonald's farm, there's a good reason. Cows, pigs, buffalo, moose and now horses are just some of the animals that are being made into art objects in cities around the country.

Not the real animals, of course, but fiberglass models that are painted by artists and displayed in public places.

The craze took hold in Chicago last year with its "Cows on Parade" project, based on a similar project in Zurich, Switzerland.

More than 300 cows grazed silently throughout Chicago for several months, boosting tourism, and turning a nifty $3.4 million profit for charities when about half were finally auctioned off.

Santa Fean Rod Barker hopes to achieve the same success with "The Trail of Painted Ponies," a project he hopes will leave its economic and artistic hoofprints throughout New Mexico.

Barker formed a for-profit company to promote the project, and hopes to get sponsors for 100 to 200 painted ponies that will be displayed in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Taos starting next May. …

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