The Humane Society of Delaware County’s adult feline section is now the cat’s meow, thanks to the Big Walnut High School’s National Art Honors Society.
For three days in mid-February, the art students painted a couple of rooms at the facility, filling the walls with pet-themed artwork. There’s realistic silhouettes of cats at play; a colorful wall pattern of cats staring; and the tranquility room for shy cats is now adorned like a museum with feline art masterpieces, such as imitations of the Meow-na Lisa, and a Pablo Pi-cat-so. There’s even an area where families can pose with their newly-adopted pet for a photo.
“As you can imagine at any shelter you’re in, you’re constantly dealing with aging facilities, things get dirty, things start getting a little disconnected,” said HSDC Executive Director Jana Cassidy. “Our complex is in pieces and chunks, so we have all these different rooms, and they came in and said we’d like to beautify them for you. So we just showed them the complex, and this is what they did. We did not ask them.”
All the walls were first given a white base coat, design ideas were placed, and then painted over. The students worked with the cats in the rooms, and although there may have been more foot traffic than they were used to, the cats adapted easily to the bustle.
Cassidy said the HSDC doesn’t receive government funding and relies on donations and grants, so the spring project was most welcome.
“They’re pretty cool, so we’re pretty excited about it,” Cassidy said. “They’ve done all this in three days. Our staff was really excited to see the final product.”
Carrie Kaelin, a volunteer and board member, said this was a good time to do the painting since there were only about 20 cats waiting to be adopted at the time. That number is likely to increase by the end of June, she said.
Art teacher Melissa Maxson is the founder of Big Walnut’s NAHS, now in its 10th year. In years past, high schoolers interested in art did service projects such as painting games on the blacktop of Harrison Street Elementary.
“We changed the direction — we were giving back to our immediate school district, and we started to reach out to the community this year. We tried to pick a place we could give back to, part of the program that’s important for the kids is service back to the community through art. This seemed like a good place, because it’s a nonprofit.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.