Remembering Cat: CatFest 2017 to honor the memory of beloved arts advocate

. May 15, 2017.

Two years ago, the Toledo artistic circle lost one of its most visible and beloved advocates. Cat Lambert, whose website helped spotlight events and connect artists throughout the area, was tragically slain by her husband in her Rossford home in 2015. She left behind innumerable friends who loved her, and a hole in the heart of Toledo’s artistic family.

“She was essential to the community. She brought everyone together,” said Dee Brown, Toledo art mainstay and Lambert’s friend. “She introduced businesses to artists, and artists to musicians, and brought everybody together to become a large family who worked together to promote each other, and everybody’s talents. Her goal was to make everybody shine.”


To both honor Lambert’s memory and to raise awareness and funds to fight against domestic violence, Brown hosted the first “CatFest” in 2016, a festival of art and live music. The second annual event will take place on Saturday, May 20 at the Black Cloister Brewing Company on Monroe St.

“CatFest’s goals are to bring awareness to the domestic violence that happens around everybody,” Brown said. “And to bring everybody together to not only bring awareness, but to raise a little bit of funds for a local organization that does help survivors of domestic violence. And we want to do that through a venue of art and music.”

Though the goals and heart behind the event remain unchanged, some of the details have adapted a little bit in the festival’s second year. Unlike 2016’s two-day CatFest, the event will take place on only one day, and the focus is more on the live performances, featuring artists like Chris Shutters, Rodney Parker and the Liberty Beach Band and more. And Brown was thrilled to find a willing location like the Black Cloister to host the event.

“I wanted to find a really good, supportive local business, who would allow us to have the space and allow us to do it at no charge, so that way we could make money for a cause instead of spend money,” Brown said.

“So I found the Black Cloister, and those guys are just great there. They’re really down to help. They’re even donating for our raffle and our auction, so that way they can help us not only have a place to have a party, but they’re giving us items to actually make money with, as well.”


The central focus of the event, however — honoring the memory of Cat Lambert by raising awareness of domestic violence and fighting to ensure no one needs feel alone — remains wholly intact. “We have a lot of ways we can help people. We are actually working hand-in-hand with the Bethany House, which is the only long-term, domestic violence shelter in the Northwest Ohio area, and it’s one of the few in the nation,” Brown said.

“They’re helping us by having a booth there, so they can provide information for everybody who comes up to them and maybe needs help, maybe needs to be able to help a friend, or they have somebody they’re worried about and maybe need to ask advice from somebody who might know better.”

Lambert will be present in her own way, too — a red silhouette statue made in her memory as part of the Silent Witness program will stand at the event. The hole that Lambert’s departure left will never be forgotten. But for an evening, her friends and artistic family will gather together and show that love can help salve all wounds.

“I hope that people understand that domestic violence is everywhere. But it’s a fightable cause,” Brown said. “We can fight against domestic violence by working together, and showing everybody that it’s not [a] taboo subject. It’s something you can talk about. If you need help, you can get it. There’s people everywhere that are there to help you. And we’re showing people where those people are.”

Proceeds from the raffle and auction will benefit the Bethany House, Toledo’s only longterm domestic violence survivors shelter. 

2pm-midnight. Saturday, May 20
Black Cloister Brewing Company,
619 Monroe St., 419-214-1500.
Facebook Event.