WRITER | CANDIE CONAT
PHOTOS | TOM LARSON
C.A.T. Work Art Gallery in Bay City started as a joint venture between artist Tom Larson and his two artistic children, Carl and Amelia. When the last art gallery in Bay City announced it would be closing, Larson realized there would no longer be a place for local artists to exhibit their work. He had been in the salvage business for close to 40 years when he began contemplating this new adventure. As luck would have it, there happened to be a vacant building nearby that would be the perfect space for a gallery.
In 2010, Larson, along with family and friends, began to transform the vacant building into a creative outlet for artists of all kinds, with the official grand opening in 2011. C.A.T. Work boasts a wide variety of artistic mediums from sculptures that are edgy and modern to pencil drawings and ceramic works that are funky and hip, as he puts it.
The most recent display at C.A.T. Work is a unique line of marionettes created by local artist and puppetmaster Dan Moyer. Larson himself has long been interested in marionettes, having made them with his children when they were young. Following conversations with Larson and other gallery artists, Moyer decided to study the history of marionettes and began creating a collection. Marionettes are very popular in many East European countries and are considered very collectible. Moyer’s handmade collection includes everything from dragons, lizards, and robots to cats and clowns. C.A.T. Work hopes to have a professional puppet theater up and running soon for all to enjoy.
C.A.T. Work has several members who curate art pieces for the gallery. New artists are evaluated and discussed by the board to determine if their work will be a good fit with the overall vision of the gallery.
Larson and the other artists involved in running C.A.T. Work are encouraging to all the artists they encounter through the gallery. Many are new and upcoming talents in need of advice and guidance on how they can advance their careers and find their own place in the art community. He enjoys giving back to them in this way.
Over the years, Larson’s art has evolved. He started as a wood sculptor and has transitioned to creating assemblages and unique paintings. Assemblage is the art of creating sculptures by taking a series or collection of objects and putting them together with fasteners like nails and screws in a new and unimagined way.
Larson is grateful that the art community of Bay City has welcomed C.A.T. Work with open arms, helping to spread the word to locals and visitors alike. The gallery has gleaned a dedicated fan base that continually grows and brings in new admirers ready to experience everything the gallery has to offer.
C.A.T. Work Art Gallery
522 Washington Avenue
Bay City MI 48708