BELLINGHAM - Sehome High School senior Rachel Roberts hopes she has a cash cow on her hands.
Roberts is one of nine high school finalists throughout the country decorating full-size cow sculptures in Lucerne's Art of Dairy contest. The person whose cow gets the most votes online will receive $20,000 for their school's art department, along with $5,000 for themselves and $5,000 for their teacher. The month-long voting period starts Wednesday, April 17, at artofdairy.com.
"It's really exciting," Roberts said. "We're just trying to come up with all these crazy events that we can take the cow to to get some attention."
More than 6,400 students submitted designs on paper for cow-shaped "ImaginDairy Places" that showcase pretend dairy worlds, and the top nine received life-sized cow sculptures. Roberts' entry was called the "Moochanical Moochine," and it provided a window into a factory within the cow that creates milk, cheese and ice cream.
"I'm going into industrial design, so I'm all about gears and how things work," Roberts said. "So I wanted to incorporate that into the design, and by doing that I came up with the factory."
Her art teacher, Lonnie Schang, told her class about the contest, and a few students submitted entries. Roberts said she was shocked when she found out she made it into the top nine and was even more surprised when a fiberglass cow form showed up - at 8 feet long, 5 feet tall, 3 feet wide and about 125 pounds. She wasn't quite sure what to do with it.
"This was definitely a first for me," she said. "It was something new."
While most of the other entries appear to be just painted on to the forms, Roberts took a different approach. The window into her cow factory is painted in acrylic, and the rest of the cow is spray-painted silver, with metal spots to replicate the hide screwed into the body. She spent four or five hours a day for a month working on the cow at school.
"I was a little stressed," Roberts said. "I had never worked with so many mediums, so I wasn't sure how long it would take for each one to finish."
Roberts said it was satisfying to get all the painting, drilling and designing done, but the hard part will be going out and getting votes. Her cow will be on display at Lynden's Safeway until the first week of May, and she's hoping to set up a "kiss the cow" event at the Bellingham Farmers Market.
HOW TO VOTE
People can vote for Sehome High School senior Rachel Roberts' cow sculpture in Lucerne's Art of Dairy contest starting at noon Wednesday, April 17. The voting will run through May 17 on the website artofdairy.com.
The sculpture will be on display from mid-April to the first week of May at the Lynden Safeway, and then it will be shown at the Bellingham School District Office.
See pictures of the Moochanical Moochine in various stages at facebook.com/themoochanicalmoochine.