On Saturday, Aug. 23, the Farnsworth Art Museum will present Midcoast Maine’s inaugural Internet Cat Video Festival in Harbor Park. The festival will begin at 5 p.m. with a cat-themed fair featuring a cat costume contest, games, art activities, food vendors as well as other feline-themed shenanigans. At approximately 8 p.m., a screening of the 72-minute reel of 90 Internet cat videos will begin. This event is open and free to the public.

Begun in 2012 at the Walker Art Center, a renowned contemporary art museum in Minneapolis, Minn., the Internet Cat Video Festival is the first offline celebration of online cat videos. The festival is a live event, gathering fellow feline fanatics to watch a curated collection of cat clips — from six second Vine videos to short films and everything in between — in a social environment.

The first festival was an unparalleled and unexpected success. The Walker Arts Center saw the convergence of 10,000 people — some in costumes, others cradling kitty companions, all feline fanatics — and became a viral sensation online. Since then, the festival has spawned other lives including a national and international tour. The Farnsworth Art Museum is an official tour site for the second edition of the film festival, which took place at the Walker Art Center last summer.

The Farnsworth is sponsoring the fest because it believes that Internet cat videos are doing many of the things compelling art should: raising questions; challenging assumptions; surprising people; and, in the case of this festival, creating a real, multisensory experience. This festival is a crowd-sourced social gathering that taps into the growing trend towards socially engaged art and public practice. It’s not just about watching cat videos; it’s about watching cat videos together. At sundown, attendees are invited to bring their own blankets and find their way to the big screen in Rockland’s Harbor Park.

The Farnsworth’s first annual Internet Cat Video Festival is made possible in part through the generosity of Pen Bay Veterinary Associates, Inc., the Strand Theatre and Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County. For more information, visit farnsworthmuseum.org/education.


The Farnsworth Art Museum is thrilled to announce that Pen Bay Veterinary Associates, Inc. will be setting up a stuffed animal M.A.S.H. unit  for the fair. Fair participants may bring their stuffed animals to the unit’s booth and the personnel there will attempt to “surgically repair” them. The festival, which is presented by the Farnsworth’s newest membership group The Collective, also will feature a cat costume contest to be judged by WCSH reporter Don Carrigan and the cats Wally and Togus Junior, who took over for the famed Togus the Cat. There will be games, art activities and food vendors, as well as other cat-themed shenanigans. PAWS Animal Adoption Center will have a Cat Cuddle Booth at which “adoptable cats from P.A.W.S. will be ready, willing and able to give you a furry fix of unconditional love for the day.” And the Pope Humane Society will have cats onsite that are up for adoption.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.