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Cat Life Invitational at LeMoyne, May 2011

Cat Life Invitational at LeMoyne, October 2015

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Cat Life Invitational at LeMoyne, May 2011

Cat Life Invitational
"The Opening"

You know," Ann sounded pleased and a tad surprised, "I keep getting calls from people congratulating me to our successful opening!" "Wow! That is super," I smiled at her. "People seem to hear about it everywhere," Ann added. "It is a great show," I said, "and you deserve lots of credit for hanging all the pieces so tastefully." "Oh, thank you," Ann answered, "and thank you for making it happen".

And with that we were off to lunch, we deserved that, too!

Ann Kozeliski, the director of the LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts, was referring to the opening of 'Cat Life Invitational' on May 6th at the LeMoyne Gallery. We had 600 people for the opening on that Friday! Wow indeed!

Ann does deserve all the credit for hanging the pieces in the art show, and the LeMoyne staff and volunteers for helping and setting it all up. It had been my idea to have a show just about cats! So Cat Life Invitational is an art show about cats, and only about cats; wild and tame, big and small.

I love cats. What can I say. They are work of arts. Truly so. My beloved cats.

Now I can't decide which art to buy, we have so many beautiful pieces; the show will run until May 28th, so I have some time...

For the opening we had 'Bogazedi', Mike Jones' band, play in the garden. The Tallahassee Museum had an information table there as well with lots of photos introducing 'Buddha', the new panther. Refreshments were available inside the gallery and out on the porch. And the Leon County Humane Society had taken over the front porch with the main attraction: kittens! Sonya White, the president of LCHS, had brought over two older Siamese-type kittens, who were white with orange markings. Barbara Hatch, the 'cat-woman' of the Humane Society, arrived a little while later with two tiny black, absolutely adorable kittens! Everybody stopped to look at the kittens first and was taken in by the tiny charming ambassadors of the cat-dom. Sonya was pleased by all the interest of our visitors which resulted in many new contacts for the Humane Society.

Of course, Cat Life Foundation is represented at the show. We have a table with information material (including new tote bags with CLF's logo printed on them; they look cool!) about our projects and cat photo cards with my photos of wild cats. One of my cat photos, a large one, is up for a silent auction; right now it is one of Robby, a bobcat from the museum.

One the wall there are photos of my cat at home, Artus TopCat. He had said he wanted to be in the show; so I made him look extra special; not that he needs that, of course!

I was at the LeMoyne gallery every day during the week prior to the opening, setting up Cat Life Foundation's information table and helping with everything.

At first I tried to hang two pictures by myself, side by side, same size, and same frames: I think it took me more than half an hour. The first one I hung up okay; and then for the second one, I measured and nailed and took the nail out and leveled and measured and hammered and took the nail out again and measured and leveled and then I started hitting my thumb all the time; time to stop!

Oh, I did manage to get the two pictures up on the wall, straight and level and everything. One of them even won third price (not for the hanging, I might add). However, after lunch that day I decided to instead follow Ann around with nails, hammer and level, kind of like a nurse: "Hammer"; check! "Nail"; check. Since I am tall we took advantage of me being able to reach up higher to hold a piece in place; "is it straight?" "A little to the left, nooo, too much, a little lower, yep, that's it!" We laughed a lot, of course.

Ann was so creative in arranging all the art pieces. She started with laying all the artwork on the floor, moving the pieces around to see how they would look on the wall. "I need quiet time here, please," she said. I absolutely understand that; creative processes require open spaces, a void, and the collective unconscious even; to create in.

On Friday, thanks to Ann and Heather and Jennifer and all the LeMoyne volunteers, the gallery was ready, everything looked great. I was there in the morning and then went home for a two hour break; I needed to get myself together. I was back at LeMoyne around five to help with the final touches; and then our many welcome visitors filled the gallery all evening. Lovely. And wow again!

Now we are getting ready for the next event on Saturday, the 21st of May, from one p.m. to three p.m.! I will talk about Cat Life Foundation and then Brad Rutherford from the Snow Leopard Trust will be there to give a presentation. A new photo of mine will be up for the silent auction. The Leon County Humane Society will join us again (perhaps they'll bring cats again...), we will have music and refreshments and all kinds of entertainment...

I am looking forward to welcome many guests for our presentation, it will be fun. Come visit us there; and stay tuned for my next report on this website!

Cat Life Invitational - The Presentations
May 21, 2011

Brad and I absolutely agree: it takes only one. It takes only one person to change something in the future. It takes only that one human being who – inspired by our presentations – will make a difference in the world, for the wild cats and for all of nature. This is what makes our work worthwhile for us.

There was such a child at our presentation; his parents told us, their son insisted they go and listen to my talk about Cat Life Foundation, and Brad Rutherford’s presentation about the Snow Leopard Trust. Brad is the executive director at the Snow Leopard Trust which has been saving snow leopards since 1981.

Approximately 40 people attended the event – “standing room only” as Ann observed. Afterward I heard from pretty much every one that they enjoyed our talks and learned a lot. Two women said they were not really cat people, but after learning about our worldwide projects to save the cats and their habitats, they are reconsidering. How nice.

Aside from our presentations the Leon County Humane Society participated again as well. They served refreshments. A quintet filled the gallery with classical music, which sounded just lovely. On the front porch we had face painters and a balloon artist.

It was a whirlwind of a weekend. Setting up the talk – a friend was videotaping us as well – and organizing everything; and then picking up Brad from the airport, taking him to dinner, driving to the beach with him to ensure he dips his feet into the gulf (“where I live, the water’s year-round about 50 degrees”, Brad said), showing him around – Ann had kindly organized a tour of Tallahassee for him (I told Brad, I would expect a report about it, since he would know more now than I ever did, having lived here “only” since 1998!), all in all making sure he is comfortable, since he came all the way across the continent for two nights to give his presentation.

Over the years (I think I approached the Snow Leopard Trust in 2007 at the annual AZA - American Association of Zoos and Aquariums - conference) I would say we have become kind of long-distance friends. We take interest in each other’s personal lives, and we share many of the same values and thoughts when it comes to the cats and to nature. So far, I have not yet met Brad’s family but I am looking forward to doing that next time I am in Seattle, where the Snow Leopard Trust is based.

It is so great to hear from friends and strangers alike that they enjoyed hearing about Cat Life Foundation and the Snow Leopard Trust.

On Saturday, May 28, the show comes down. I thank you for your interest and support. And remember: all of your donations go directly to the projects!

Cat Life Invitational - The End
May 28, 2011

I am a little sad. The show is over.

I just picked up Cat Life Foundation’s things from the LeMoyne gallery: the brochures, photo-cards, the poster, note pads, tote bags, Artus’ photos and all.

It was a great show; everybody agreed about that, artists and visitors both. Now it is time the show ends – I am moving on. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work putting the exhibition and all the events together.

I had started a list of what to keep and what to change about the show and I asked Ann and Heather to contribute their thoughts as well for next time. We will do another cat show, Cat Life Invitational II, in three years, May 2014.

It was just five o’clock on Saturday when I drove home, the car loaded up. Of course, my car is large enough to transport panthers so these few boxes were hardly noticeable. At home I did unload everything related to the show; and eventually all the note pads and tote bags will find their place in my office. Now I will work on this website some more. There will be updates and new features, like highlights from my presentation and other video clips about me. I am moving on.

Driving by LeMoyne late at night the next day, I notice some lights are on, I can look inside. It is empty in there, the bare walls stare back at me. Cat Life Foundation’s table is not visible at the window anymore. Outside, the CLF banner is still flapping in the wind; they will change it soon.

It was a great show. It was so rewarding because of the many people who visited. It was so enriching because of all the people who were involved in putting the show together and who participated in it. It was so worthwhile because of our presentations which received such positive feedback.

But most of all, the show just felt good. It was marvelous to have all the cats there, to be surrounded by the beauty and the power of cats.

It was Cat Power.