So suddenly there are all these whimsically-painted horses all over downtown Stamford. They just sort of magically appeared one day, as if they had all escaped from a traveling fairy rodeo or something.
Initially, I thought that perhaps the city arts commissioners (if there are any) had installed some very bland horse statues, and that they (the horses, not the commissioners) had been attacked during the night by some very talented graffiti artists. But that turns out not to be the case.
No, it’s all part of “Horsing’ Around in Stamford,” the latest in a series of fine arts projects that has included “It’s Reigning Cats and Dogs in Stamford,” “Stamford Safari,” “ART-o-Mobiles,” and, of course, the granddaddy of all “let’s-have-some folks-paint-some-animal-statues-and-auction-them-off-for-charity” events, the CowParade, which, by now, has been done in just about every city in the world, except those in which you might actually see a cow. (Well, you might see a cow in Chicago, but it would be dead.*)
The entire concept has been taken to ridiculous extremes. Various cities have been invaded by whimsically-painted pelicans (Pensacola, FL), lobsters (Halifax, Nova Scotia), pigs (Lexington, NC), frogs (Willimantic, CT), and crabs (Baltimore, MD).
You can still see the remnants of past Stamford exhibits around town. For instance, there’s a crazy giraffe in front of the real estate firm that sold us our house, which I assume is from “Stamford Safari,” unless they had a really lousy mold for “Reigning Cats and Dogs.”
And while I have no problem decorating the town with colorful (and whimsical!) works of art, I do think that the theme should somehow relate to the location. Baltimore and crabs–okay, I get that. Nova Scotia and lobsters–well, sure, because whimsically-painted smoked salmon would look silly. Ducks for Eugene, Oregon–absolutely!
We’ve been living in Stamford for over a year now, and I’m not sure Stamford is really associated with anything, except maybe a preponderance of nail salons. It’s certainly not particularly associated with horses. Or cows, cats, dogs, or zoo animals.
I went to the town website, where I found the city’s motto: “The City That Works!” I’ve written about this before, but, I have to admit, I didn’t include the exclamation point, which makes it much more exciting.
Here is everything the Website has to say about leisure activities in Stamford:
We are a City with many facets- as we offer both urban and suburban elements ranging from the multi-acre homes in wooded North Stamford, to our splendid corporate downtown center, to the beautiful shoreline areas that envelop our parks and beaches.
Really? That’s the best they can do? Their idea of leisure is a corporate downtown? Essentially, it’s saying that Stamford is a city that only works! Perhaps we can have giant whimsical briefcases around town. (Also, not to nitpick, but if our parks and beaches are enveloped by a shoreline, it would mean that they are all on islands. Apparently, one thing Stamford is not known for is its command of English.)
I suppose we could grab some sort of symbol from the state and whimsically paint that. For instance, the Connecticut state animal is the sperm whale, so we can have whimsical whales around town (“Whale of a Time in Stamford!”). We have a state insect, the praying mantis, which might make for nice, whimsical statuary (“Oh, look! That statue is biting the head off a lizard! How whimsical!”), and also give the town a reputation for being somewhat religious. Our legislators, in their wisdom (and with, evidently, lots of free time on their hands), have even elected a state shellfish; perhaps we can have colorful Eastern oysters around town (“Stamford is Your Oyster!”).
Personally, though, I think we should honor the state fossil. Yes, that is correct, Connecticut has a state fossil. It is the Eubrontes Giganteus. I have absolutely no idea what that is. I could look it up, of course.
But I prefer to wait until I see it whimsically decorating the town.
See you soon.
*This is in no way a diss on Chicago; it’s just a reference to the meat-packing plants it used to be known for.