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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Big Cats take over the downtown Canton, Ohio Arts District

CANTON, OH (July 24, 2010) – The latest piece of public art in the Canton Ohio Arts District is pure feline fantasy. Or maybe not.
Artwork by BZTAT

The four panel mural created by Artist BZTAT, (a.k.a. Vicki Boatright) hangs on a brick building at 201 Fifth St. NW in Canton, and it depicts four felines who actually live downtown. The cats, named Noah, Slick, Who, and Brewskie Butt, are the companions of the artist, who owns BZTAT Studios on Fourth Street in the Canton Arts District.

The “Downtown Cats” mural will be officially dedicated during the First Friday festivities on Friday, August 6 at 7:30 pm, immediately following the Arts Street Parade. Speakers will include ArtsinStark president and CEO Robb Hankins and Tim Belden, owner of the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography. BZTAT will dedicate the mural to an audience filled with cats and dogs as well as human participants. Pets available for adoption from Friends of the Pound and Second Chance for Animals, Inc. will be present to celebrate the event, and hopefully find loving homes.

Each cat, painted in a brightly colored and whimsical style, peers inward from a painted window reminiscent of the nearby Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography. The windows, each a separate 4’ x 8’ wooden panel, are painted with a city skyline, fence, and grass to highlight both the urban and residential qualities that give Canton its unique charm.

The mural was sponsored by the Timothy S. Belden Charitable Fund and was coordinated through ArtsinStark, the County Arts Council.

Attendees of the dedication will each receive a commemorative bookmark. Those who cannot attend but would like to watch online can view a live broadcast of the event on U-Stream. Tune in at 7:30 pm at:

“I wanted to create a piece of public art that celebrates the resurgence of downtown Canton around the Arts District as well as the beauty of the entire city,” said the artist. “Also, as an animal artist and supporter of various pet rescue causes, I featured the images of my own beloved pets, who are residents of downtown Canton and were all rescued animals at some point in their lives.”

One of her cats, Brewskie Butt, has his own social media following through Facebook, Twitter and his own blog, Just Meowin’. People from all over the world have followed the development of the “Downtown Cats” mural through Brewskie’s and BZTAT’s own social media efforts on Facebook and Twitter.


Vicki Boatright, known as “BZTAT” (pronounced bee-zee-tat), specializes in whimsical drawings, paintings and prints of cats, dogs and other companion animals. She creates colorful, customized pet portraits, which are unique in their original contemporary style and are collected by people around the world. She also creates murals that follow pet motifs and other themes.

Vicki uses the name BZTAT in homage to a feline companion of that name who was with her for 19 years. You can learn more about the artist and view her artwork at

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