We were greeted by “Monty.”
He was a huge canvas full of layers and texture with big expressive eyes. I think the model for “Monty” had cat-titude.
Welcome to the second year of The AMAZING Cat Show! If I couldn’t spend my Friday night on the couch covered in pj’s and cats, than at least I could be with friends gazing on hundreds of pieces of cat themed art.
I did a squealing “caaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttttttssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!” happy dance in the entrance much to the bafflement of one of our party who could not understand why on earth enough people had shown up to pack us in shoulder to shoulder to look at cats. Looking at a heavily tattooed woman wearing cat ears, he asked me if it was the artsy people or the cat people that brought out all the weirdos. I explained that if we created a Venn diagram, there would be a very heavy crossover area of the two types: my people. (His carrot was the promise of alcohol and good food after viewing the show. Not cats.) I limited myself to a bracelet that said”meow” in gold letters, but had I chosen, I could have arrived in head to toe cat gear. It was a tough call.
The completely donated, non-juried art represented a wide range of skill and taste levels. There were realistic cat portraits, playful cartoony representations, mixed media, 3-D elements, and a surprising number of nudes: lots of female bodies with strategically placed cats –if ya know what I mean WINK!-or female bodies with the head of a cat. Prices ranged from the $3 postcard rack to large pieces like “Monty” that were in the $500 way-out-of-my-budget range. A hefty portion of proceeds will be donated to my fav shelter Colony Cats & Dogs who were set up with products and information of their own. Last year, the show raised roughly $5000 for the shelter. The show’s organizer started the project after moving to the area near the show’s venue, and encountering the feral cat population in her new neighborhood. Colony Cats & Dogs who has a strong TNR (trap, neuter, return) program around central Ohio became the project’s beneficiaries.
The show’s venue 400 West Rich St. is a sprawling haunted looking, block long warehouse from the outside and a maze of artists’ studios, event, and workshop spaces on the inside. There’s even a popular restaurant ensconced at one end of the building right across the street from a local brewery. It’s all a part of revitalization efforts for a part of the city in need of some love. Food trucks, farmer’s markets, and micro-brews, oh my! The hipsters know what they like.
Residents of the space, Movement Activities, were performing on ropes and silks suspended from the high ceilings as we shuffled past the DJ booth to take in more art. Non-cat based artists also had their studio spaces open with pieces for sale and active demonstrations. There were more people and art at every turn. Literally turn after turn; the warehouse was a warren of skinny hallways, new doorways, and stairwells that seemed to pop out Escher-like into completely different parts of the building. It was a lot to take in. I was too busy trying to gawk at artwork, but also note all the interesting pipes, old wood, exposed bricks, and funky windows around me.
However I am never too distracted to miss someone announcing that there are KITTENS. I dragged my doubtful friends up a set of stairs, and down yet another jam-packed hallway to a studio where, indeed, there were kittens. Befitting the Friday the 13th show date, there were two black kittens, a black puppy, and a well-rounded black and white adult cat, all available for adoption from Colony Cats & Dogs.
My only regret is walking away empty handed. No kittens, no art. With no clear instructions on purchasing procedures, and no space to stand in one place long enough to get financially attached to a piece, I did not spend my money. There were some small pieces that I was tempted by and, fortunately, the show will continue to run and sell through the end of January. The organizers posted today that thousands of people passed through the four hour event and that $7500 worth of art was sold that night. I’ll take that as a worthwhile evening. It’s not often that I find myself out in the downtown for an evening seeing and doing new things like this.
Updated: I went back today, January 21, for the show’s second set of open hours. They sold so much during the opening night that all of the pieces had been transferred to the downstairs gallery.
My first pick had been sold, but I got to talk to the artist who was working the gallery hours. We talked about the show and she confirmed that YES, ANYONE can donate a piece. My brain is on it!
I selected a mixed media piece that I had reacted to during the open night because of the line work. It was one of the pieces at the entrance by the fabulous Monty who was still there today. “Into Your Soul” by Lena Alidib:
KStewand4Cats runs the blog Possumscatsthingsgnawingatme, whose name she should have simplified years ago. She totally could have rolled into the show rockin’ tattoos and plenty of cat gear to fit in with the alleged “weirdos.”