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Vandals ruin Lakeridge High's life-size Art of Dairy cow

School administrators are seeking information about who smashed the artwork, which was a finalist in a nationwide contest

(Image is Clickable Link) Lakeridge High School's Art of Dairy cow was painted in 2010 by student Anne Feeny.Vandals on Wednesday destroyed Lakeridge High School’s hand-painted, life-size Fiberglas cow, a finalist in The Lucerne Art of Dairy's nationwide contest.

A witness spotted people moving the cow through the school cafeteria at about 6 p.m. Wednesday. It appears that the vandals entered Lakeridge when the doors were open in the early evening for school activities.

The vandals then took the cow, dragged it outside and hurled it from a cement wall, according to Lakeridge Vice Principal John Parke. Witnesses describe one of the suspects as an older youth with a thin build who was taller than average and had short, dark hair.

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lakeridge art students posted this photo online during the 2009-10 school year. School administrators are seeking information on the vandals who destroyed the artwork.“It’s vandalism of an irreplaceable work of art that was prized by many people, not just those currently at the school," said Parke, who had a message for the vandals: "You’ve really broken the hearts of thousands of kids as a result of your mindless destruction.”

To enter Lucerne's now-discontinued contest, thousands of students throughout the country submitted drawings depicting how they’d paint a cow. Only nine finalists for a $30,000 prize were chosen each year, and they were the ones who received a blank cow to enliven with color.

Lakeridge alum Anne Feeny was a finalist in 2010. Since then, her cow has been a major fixture at the school, standing in a corner near the auditorium. All of the cow's legs were broken off by the vandals, and its head was missing — until Monday.

While on a walk, Scott and Jaqueline Gonnerman — whose daughter actually was in the same art class as Feeny and helped make the cow — spotted the cow's head at the end of Inverurie Road. The tips of the ears were broken off, but "it was in fairly decent shape," Jacqueline Gonnerman said.

Parke said he heard a witness say that someone took a picture of themselves with the cow’s head. Parke hasn’t been able to get his hands on that photo, but he’d like to.

“If we can find out who did this, we would like police action to be a part of the consequences, as well as school action for vandalism,” he said. “We don’t think anything we can do is going to be enough. We can’t replace it. We can’t pay any money to bring it back. It’s gone forever, only to be remembered in pictures and people’s minds. We can’t see any reason why anyone would think this is funny or be supportive of this.”

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Thousands of students across the country used to enter Lucerne's The Art of Dairy contest, which is now discontinued. In 2010, Lakeridge was a finalist, earning the honor to paint the cow they'd designed.Lakeridge art teacher Shannon McBride said the vandals threw the cow onto a wheelchair ramp near the school’s dumpsters. Two of the three pods of a sculpture in front of the ceramics room also were smashed, McBride said, and students are struggling with what has happened.

"The words we're hearing are frustrated, disappointed, upset," she said. "They feel violated.”

McBride said the incident disturbed students because of their respect for the arts in general. “If it had been any art piece, they would have been equally upset,” she said. “It’s just an innate sense of what is right or wrong in terms of what is on display.”

Lakeridge senior Lucas Friedman was shocked when he heard what had happened to the cow.

“That’s really sad, because that was a beautiful art installation,” Friedman said. “My shock comes from what that says about people in or around Lakeridge. That’s just something I’ve never associated with the school or the culture.”

The Fiberglas cow had a deep-blue background and a musical theme, with piano keys, a juke box, guitar and maracas intermingled with a pat of butter and a whimsical cow in formal wear. Artist Anne Feeny still lives in the area, but she could not be reached for comment.

Other local students have also been lauded for creating beautiful pieces for The Art of Dairy contest. In 2012, Lake Oswego High School student Amy Chen (Class of 2014) won the grand prize.

Losing the artwork was painful for Lakeridge, Parke said. The school has been through a lot in recent days, with many community members at odds after a student reported that hazing had occured on the Pacer Dance Team.

“We walk by that spot where the cow was,” Parke said, “and we walk by this big mass of emptiness, and I’m sure that’s how a lot of kids feel. It sounds silly, but, just on top of everything else, it was not a happy realization when we found it in pieces.”


Anyone with information about the destruction of Lakeridge High's Art of Dairy cow is urged to contact Vice Principal John Parke at john.parke@loswego.k12.or.us or 503-534-2319, ext. 2266.

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
email: jdaley@lakeoswegoreview.com
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