Cheese house artist heads to the border to build cheese wall


An artist who once covered a Powell house in cheese is taking on a new challenge: Building a cheese wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Los Angeles-based artist Cosimo Cavallaro says he was inspired to build a cheese wall “because of the political environment we are living in today.”

While the latest creation is Cavallaro’s biggest project, it’s certainly not the first time the controversial artist’s affinity for expired cheese has drawn widespread attention.

In October 2001, Powell found itself in national headlines when Cavallaro came here to cover a house in cheese. Cavallaro sprayed liquified pepper jack on an abandoned house on North Street, completely covering the exterior and interior of the small cottage in cheese. It stood for less than a month before it was demolished, but not before Powell held a “Cheesefest” in celebration, including a parade.

Cavallaro’s border wall is currently funded for 200 blocks of cheese — enough for a 25-foot long wall. A fundraising effort is underway to extend the wall to up to 1,000 feet. To raise money, he’s selling merchandise with the slogan “Make America Grate Again.”

Last week, Cavallaro started building the wall with large blocks of spoiled cheese.

“The first thing that comes to your mind is that it’s absurd,” Cavallaro told the Los Angeles Times.

He said that the cheese wall is pointless, like President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico.

“I don’t like walls. So this is a wall that I can handle, this is a wall I can live with, because this wall is a perishable [one]; it will not last,” Cavallaro said on his website.

As an immigrant child, the Italian-Canadian said he was always looked upon as an outsider.

“I understand the outsider point of view very, very well,” he said on his website.

A GoFundMe campaign for the project says that, “if it takes a Cheese Wall at the border to make people look at the ‘wall’ in a different way, that’s what Cosimo [Cavallaro] will create.”

As of Monday, the campaign had raised $2,450 — just a fraction of the $300,000 fundraising goal.

Meanwhile, President Trump recently told Fox News that his administration is working to install new barriers along “hundreds of miles” of land along the country’s southern border. Congress provided $1.4 billion for the work earlier this year and the president is seeking to spend another $1 billion from the Department of Defense after declaring a national emergency.