Worcester, MA has an art museum that is considered one of the best small museums in the country, with a wealth of old masters and priceless antiquities.. (It was even featured, with one of its Rembrandts in the film “American Hustle.”) But occasionally WAM does something wacky and untraditional, like its current exhibit MEOW, (May 21 to Sept. 4) which features a “cat walk” through WAM’s galleries to see “the felines as an iconic artistic muse in this exhibition off prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture of cats.”
In conjunction with the exhibition, WAM invited the local community to participate in a separate exhibit, called “Community Cats” in the education wing of the museum. For a donation of $10 to go to the Worcester Animal Rescue League, anyone could submit a work they have created or collected, “whether the work of art was created in memory of a long-time pet, is an interpretive study, or is the centerpiece of your own private collection.”
Over 250 people brought in cat-themed works of art in every medium imaginable. We wrote our own labels to explain the work. (As you know I’m a cat person, (although we don't have a pet at the moment), so I brought in a watercolor painting and a copy of my Greek Cats book.)
Last Sunday I went to the reception for the opening of “Community Cats” and loved seeing artists of every age proudly posing with their art in the Museum. The art, created by artists as young as six and as old as, um, 75, was funny and touching and surprising. Here are photos of some of my favorites.
Above is the "Kitty Warhol" that began the exhibit-- by Paul Koudounaris, who wrote it's a “photoprint on metallic lustre paper”.
These line drawings, incorporating quotations about cats, are by Suzanna Roberts. I learned that she calls herself the “Wicked Good Witch” and that these drawings are part of her very successful “Karmic Cat Coloring Book.”
A number of the submissions involved needle and thread. Here are two wall hangings. I love the cat quilt on the left with button eyes.
This cat is all needlepoint and took the artist three years to finish.
There were scary cats.
And Asian--appearing cats.
Flat cats...The lady on the right wrote that her cats never let her read anything.
Cats with big ears....
Memorials for those who had passed away....
This says Mr. Fur was "gone but not forgotten...one of God's little creatures -- always a gentleman."
This label said "I always thought Grandma's art belonged in a museum."
There were child-like and primitive cats.
This one below is papier maché.
My watercolor scene featuring a harbor cat on the Greek island of Hydra was near the end of the exhibit.
My photo book "The Secret Life of Greek Cats" is under glass in a display case. The thing behind it is a Japanese ceramic pillow in the shape of a cat.
The book was also for sale in the Museum's store, which is overflowing with cat-themed merchandise.
I think WAM's decision to have cat-themed exhibits and events all summer was brilliant, and I can't wait for the next event--the "Cat-in-Residence Program" from July 13 to September 4: "Interact with live cats in this contemporary art installation. Cats will be available for adoption through Worcester Animal Rescue League. Free admission."