The Mount Saint Vincent Art Gallery has gotten right down to brass tacks. You and everyone you know likes cat videos. Don’t even attempt to front. Running to November 24 at the MSVU Art Gallery (166 Bedford Highway), the Here Kitty, Kitty Cat Video Festival is a collection of submitted feline-centric videos (either homemade or treasured classics, *coughDONPIANOcough*). Taking inspiration from the Walker Art Centre’s Open Field Festival, the MSVU Art Gallery hopes that mini videos of our cute and fluffy friends will bring together various groups (the campus, HRM art and cat fancier communities) to watch these often individually appreciated gems in a public setting.
Jurors Peter Dykhuis (Dalhousie Art Gallery director/curator), Zach Gallant (MSVU Student Union President) and Cheryl Haverston (SPCA) painstakingly combed through cuddly bunches of cat videos, judging them on originality and entertainment value, artistic merit and tendency to foster humane treatment of cats, putting together an hour-long reel that is projected in the gallery. MSVU Art Gallery will be accepting donations of cat food and toys during the run of the show, all of which will be donated to the SPCA.
The community-building goal of the video festival has been a success, just as famous local cats show off alongside international cat superstars, the power of cat videos has brought different groups to the gallery en masse. “Tuxedo Stan has a video, Maru has a video, there’s a video called ‘Smith’ by artist Kelly Mark,” says Megan MacKay, acting program coordinator at the MSVU Art Gallery. “We've had a lot of interest, we definitely have had larger groups. We hear them chatting and laughing while experiencing videos together. It’s attracted a whole other community to the gallery space.”