At the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, community engagement with art has taken a decidedly cat-friendly twist. The museum recently opened an exhibit focused on cats-themed artwork and felines that appear in artwork throughout history, and now the exhibit even includes real cats that museum visitors are encouraged to adopt.
Inspired by the popularity of the original exhibit, the Worcester Art Museum teamed up with the Worcester Animal Rescue League to add a live cat installation filled with adoptable felines. Because all of the cats are available for adoption, the exhibit saves lives as well as getting museum visitors excited about art.
Feline-Friendly Audience Engagement
Oddly enough, inspiration for the cat-themed exhibit came about when the museum’s director of audience engagement, Adam Rozan, started looking for dog-themed art to build a canine-based exhibit that would draw people into the museum. After noticing more cat artwork, he switched gears and developed the current exhibit, titled “Meow.”
Meow includes plenty for cat lovers to enjoy, such as a self-guided tour focused on cat themes throughout the museum’s regular collection and a community artwork gallery displaying cat art submitted by local citizens. The live cat exhibit, which includes a large mesh walk-in cage where felines lounge around or interact with museum guests, was designed by artist Rhonda Lieberman. This “social sculpture” encourages people passing by to engage with the cats, and there is even a live webcam so that interested visitors can watch the felines’ antics after hours.
The idea of incorporating a live-cat exhibit and adoption event has been done successfully before, but this is the first time it has taken place in a museum. Similar exhibits in Los Angeles, Hartford and New York took place in galleries, causing a spike in cat adoption rates in those communities. The Worcester Art Museum “Meow” exhibit is completely free, making it easier than ever for local residents to view interesting artwork and find a feline companion to take home. So far, 55 cats have found homes through the exhibit.When it comes to spreading love for felines, Worcester Art Museum’s “Meow” exhibit has become a huge success, showing just how appealing cats really are. Can’t get enough cats? This amazing “Festival Cats” shower curtain might be just the thing for you.
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