Historic Purrservation Cat by Margaret Nowack
2019 Cat’N Around Catskill – Cat #32
Sponsored by: Cultivate Catskill
Description: Cultivate Catskill, the sponsor of the purrservation cat, is a wonderful non-profit organization interested in the village’s public parks, public floral displays and plantings, Main Street trees and gardens, and historic buildings. The cat was inspired by their efforts and is modeled after a generic building of Italianate style (1840-1885), the dominant architectural style in the village. The bricks were all handmade in Ms. Nowack’s Catskill studio, a harkening back to the village’s vibrant brick industry, and the flowers, shrubs flowerboxes and other details are sculpted of a modeling clay. Bricks are laid in the ‘common bond’, which has rows of stretchers (long side) and headers (short side) indicating a solid brick wall! There are over one thousand bricks on the cat. The roof is copper, held by unadorned brackets typical of the building’s era.
Each window has a hand painted photograph depicting New York interiors from about 1900, and two windows include cats painted for postcards in the Victorian era. The cupola is full of hot-house plants popular in the late 1800s. Stones from Catskill forests make up the foundation ‘feet’. Roses, iris, wisteria, even dandelions, decorate the legs, and nasturtiums and geraniums fill the flowerboxes. The cat’s tag is printed with a very pointed ‘lost’ message – Once lost, lost forever – which of course, speaks directly to the loss of historic buildings. The model for the actual feline is Moppy, a Washington D.C. alley cat who lives a contented life on North Street in the village.
About the Artist: New York native Meg Nowack resides in the historic Mulbury House on North Street in the village of Catskill, and is in pursuit of a life full of historic preservation and artwork. In her studio on Thompson Street, she dabbles in canvas work – canvas rugs and bags – and watercolors. Ms. Nowack is a board member of the historic Beattie-Powers Place, an active member of Cultivate Catskill and organizes and conducts public tours and programs about Catskill’s history and historic preservation. She graduated from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C., with a Masters Degree in Museum Studies and obtained a position at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1997, remaining there until 2016, when she decided to come back to upstate New York. She was raised in the Central Bluegrass region of Kentucky, surrounded by horse culture and has a special interest in historic stabling, barns and outbuildings. This is Ms. Nowack’s first Heart of Catskill cat