Cats Are the Muses Behind WAM's "Meow: A Cat Inspired Exhibition"

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic

Talk about an art exhibition that’s the cat’s meow! The Worcester Art Museum’s “Meow: A Cat Inspired Exhibition” opens May 21.

Cats inspire us every day in a multitude of ways, and have been doing so for thousands of years. That’s the reason behind the Worcester Art Museum’s (WAM) “Meow: A Cat Inspired Exhibition,” running from May 21 to September 4, 2016.

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The exhibition is a multi-­program initiative that explores cats as an iconic figure throughout art history and a pop culture, as well as an Internet-­age phenomenon. Feast your eyes on exhibitions, special installations, interactive public programs, and community engagement that highlight the prolific role of the cat in creative endeavors from ancient sculpture, to 19th-­century painting to contemporary fashion (I hope there’s some Hello Kitty couture featured!).

“The playful and mischievous natures of cats have inspired artists for ages,” says Adam Rozan, Director of Audience Engagement. “Meow is an opportunity to take this subject, which completely is of the moment, and explore how it relates to the experience of art, from ancient times to today. It’s an exciting, one-­of-­a­-kind project connecting art, people, cats, and popular culture in a way that makes learning about art fun for all ages.”

Here are some of the highlights of the exhibition:

  • The Captivating Cat: Felines and the Artist’s Gaze: featuring more than 70 works from the Museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition looks at depictions of cats from ancient Egypt and China to the modern day through prints, drawings, photographs, paintings, sculpture, fashion, and armor.
  • A self-­guided “Cat Walk” tour that sheds new light on major works in the Museum’s encyclopedic collections.
  • Part ‘purr-­formance piece,’ part social sculpture, The “Cats­ in­ Residence Program” integrates art and rescue to address animal overpopulation in urban areas. Local ‘purr­formers’ (adoptable rescue cats from WARL) can interact in an inter­-species lounge filled with art for humans and cats to enjoy together.
  • Community Cat Show: Visitors are invited to submit their own cat-­related art, whether self-­made, commissioned, or purchased, for a community exhibition of art that will be on view from May 21­ to July 24, 2016 at the Museum.
  • Cat Craft Classes: WAM offers a series of studio art classes and workshops that invite audiences to create pet toys, shelters, and portraits, and to learn more about the representation of cats in the world of art.
  • Helmutt’s Dog Show: For all of the dog ­lovers, Helmutt, WAM’s canine mascot, will organize a one-­painting exhibition of his favorite work of art, Head of a Dog by Abbott Handerson Thayer.
  • The Meow Opening Party: Friday, May 20. You’re invited to join other cat and art enthusiasts at this unique celebration, including live music, costumed entertainers, and a cash bar.

I can’t wait for “Meow: A Cat Inspired Exhibition” to open. If you’d like to check it out, the Worcester Art Museum is located at 55 Salisbury Street in Worcester, MA. Their website has all the details about the show, prices and hours of operation.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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