Thirteen life-size purple cows have popped up around downtown Detroit to build awareness for cancer survivors and the American Cancer Society's Cattle Baron's Ball later this month.

The cows — painted purple to represent cancer survival — are on display in places such as Hart Plaza, Campus Martius and inside the Renaissance Center. The cows are painted with a simple message in white letters: "For a World With Less Cancer and More Birthdays." The message encourages people to share a selfie to show support of #ACSMootown.

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet brand, which is sponsoring the ball, sought to bring the CowParade, a large worldwide public art project, to Detroit as part of the event.

"We think you really can't have a Cattle Baron's ball without cows," Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer for global Chevrolet and chairman of the ball, said in an interview Wednesday.

The cows will be auctioned off at the ball, Sept. 27 at Cobo Center. The winning bidders will receive a cow with an assigned artist who will design a cow that can be displayed in front of a business, Mahoney said. GM Design, the College for Creative Studies and Olympia Entertainment also have cows they will be decorating.

Artists will have about a month to design their cow. Then, 16 cows will go on display around downtown Detroit beginning Nov. 5 for a month.

Also look for the lights atop the RenCen to be lit purple closer to the ball. Mahoney said there will be an announcement at the Detroit Tigers game Sept. 27 about a text-to-donate initiative for the society.

The society hopes to raise $1 million or more at the ball. The event is open to the public and tickets at $200 a person are available at

(313) 222-2319

Read or Share this story: