High school art students draw inspiration from steer that ran down NJ Transit tracks

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024
New Jersey high School art students draw inspiration from runaway steer in new exhibit
Ricardo the steer is capturing the imagination of art students at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey after escaping a Newark slaughterhouse

MAPLEWOOD, New Jersey -- Some high school art students in New Jersey are taking inspiration from a now famous 600-pound steer that broke free from a slaughterhouse in Newark.

Just a few weeks ago, Ricardo, the steer, managed to escape from the slaughterhouse before being spotted running on New Jersey Transit train tracks.

The unusual sight was captured by passengers who took photos and videos, but now Ricardo is capturing the imagination of art students at Columbia High School in Maplewood.

The high school's art teacher, Curtis Grayson, asked his students how they would feel if the massive bull was coming at them.

Grayson challenged some of his students to marry Ricardo's story with their cultural classes about Spain, including its bullfighting tradition, and turned it into an art exhibit.

"I personally think that tradition is something that we should respect but can be altered over time," said freshman student Eli Groner.

"We already know the ending, but the bull doesn't, and sympathize with the already known fate of the bull," said sophomore Anastasia Patti-Aquino.

Bullfighting is legal in several countries, grandfathered in as a longstanding tradition. A rule in New Jersey is that if an animal escapes slaughter, it wins its freedom. Students weighed the differences in their pieces.

"I think it's an interesting topic because for me I would never run with the bulls," said sophomore Lillian Kyle said. "That's terrifying, but it's such a deep cultural thing. I think it's really beautiful that it's connected so many people."

Crystal Cranmore has the latest details.

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