575 Project

2000 - 2005
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Artist's Statement

Each year, about five million unwanted pets are put to death in U.S. shelters. That’s 13,800 every day, or 575 dogs and cats killed every hour!

I conceived The 575 Project to call attention to this unacceptable reality. Each piece in The 575 Project is a memorial to the 575 unwanted pets who are euthanized each hour.

Physical objects can become emotionally "charged" and trigger forgotten feelings. The materials I used in creating The 575 Project are things ordinarily associated with dogs and cats – such as collars, tags and pet food cans. I collected 575 of each object and created a piece of art from each collection. Many of these objects came from animal shelters around the country and have a direct and tangible connection to animals who have been destroyed.

Using the traditional mediums of drawing, painting, assemblage and ceramics, as well as performance, The 575 Project gives form to the idea that euthanasia is not an acceptable solution to the overpopulation of domestic animals.

I believe art can and should play an activist role in society. Art can grab one’s attention and shine a bright light into dark and hidden corners. What happens to homeless pets in shelters is a dark corner that I hope to illuminate with The 575 Project.

Cyrus Mejia