THE LOOP — Soon, the horses Chicago Police officers ride won't be the only steed you'll find downtown.
About 50 life-size, fiberglass horses, decorated by both local and international artists, will dot the Magnificent Mile under a public art installation called "Horses of Honor," which was modeled after "Cows on Parade."
The horses will be auctioned off in December, and all proceeds will go to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which gives money and services to families of fallen officers.
"Most Chicagoans remember 'Cows on Parade,'" said Billy Bracken, a partner at Agency 360, at a news conference Wednesday at Tribune Plaza. "It left a legacy here in Chicago. I'm hoping we're going to have the same impact with this program."
One of the horses, designed by lifelong artist Don McClelland, was unveiled Wednesday. It is dedicated to Officer Herman Stallworth, who was killed during a traffic stop in 1967.
"I have friends that are police officers, and I wanted to do whatever I could to raise money for the Police Memorial Fund," said McClelland, who is also the creative manager at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, which sponsored the art installation.
He said he used an air-brushing technique to complete his design. His horse, which was sponsored by Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway, appears to be in a transition, half of his body is mechanized and the other half is white and sleek.
"The [police] horses are usually donated or bought from previous owners," McClelland said. "The family of fallen officers also have a hard transition from losing a love one or suffering a catastrophic injury so I tried to combine that along with the beauty and power."
But artists aren't limited in terms of technique.
Artist Tim Marquez said he was waiting to receive his horse, and plans to use oil-based acrylic to complete his design.
His horse will be dedicated to his uncle, Officer Donald Marquez, who was killed while serving court papers in Logan Square.
"It's a fantastic honor," Tim's father Dan Marquez said Wednesday.
Another artist, Nino Rodriguez, and kids from Officer Donald J. Marquez Charter School in Brighton Park, will join Marquez in personalizing the sculpture.
It's not too late to participate, Bracken said, adding that artists have through October to design a horse. All they have to do is connect with individuals or businesses who want to sponsor the horse. Sponsorships cost $2,500 to $3,500, Bracken said.
The horses weigh about 100 pounds and can hold people, Bracken said, in case Chicagoans want to jump on and get their picture taken.
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