Past Exhibition

Pawsibilities Unleashed: A Pet Portrait Exhibition

Nov 16, 2023–Mar 24, 2024
Theater Gallery and Lower Lobby

The Walt Disney Family Museum is pleased to announce Pawsibilities Unleashed: A Pet Portrait Exhibition. Presented concurrently with our special exhibition, Disney Cats & Dogs, this unique collection of artworks will feature portraits by local Bay Area and Disney-related artists, showcasing the profound impact animal companions have on their creative expression. Pawsibilities Unleashed will also showcase animal-related collectibles from Walt’s personal collection in addition to rare, non-English language posters from an array of classic, animal-centric Disney films. 

This original exhibition is co-curated by Tracie Timmer, Public Programs Manager, and Marina Villar Delgado, Director of Collection and Exhibitions, and will be on view in the museum’s Theater Gallery and Lower Lobby beginning Thursday, November 16, 2023, through March 2024, and will be free to the public. 

Pets bring entertainment, comfort, and companionship for so many of us, and for artists, they can also be a source of great inspiration. “With the success of Disney Cats and Dogs, we hoped to find more ways to bring the joy of pets to our museum guests,” says Timmer. “We also sought to highlight the talented Disney Legends and artists who have contributed to many beloved animal characters in Disney films over the years, including Pete Docter, Andreas Deja, John Musker, and many more, alongside local artists who have immortalized pets of all shapes and sizes with their distinctive creativity and vision. As you will discover in this exhibition, one common theme rings true in each of these unique artworks—they encapsulate the special bond that humans and animals share.” 

Walt Disney loved, respected, and appreciated animals from a very young age and found many ways to incorporate them into his films, television shows, and other projects throughout his lifetime. Even in the early days of the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio—known today as The Walt Disney Company—Walt would create roles for his Uncle Robert Disney’s German Shepherd, Peggy. Her live-action debut in the Alice Comedies in 1924 marked the first on-screen appearance of a Disney pet, and she quickly became an audience favorite. 

Walt once said, “Sometimes we recognize ourselves in animals. And that’s what makes them so interesting.” This sentiment rings true for the talented artists and their animal-inspired artworks featured in Pawsibilities Unleashed. Featured in the exhibition are works created by some of Walt Disney’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Chris Miller, Walter Miller, and Lily Miller.

Pawsibilities Unleashed and Disney Cats & Dogs are presented in conjunction with this year’s celebration of The Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary. 

Pawsibilities Unleashed: A Pet Portrait Exhibition will be on view in the museum’s Theater Gallery and Lower Lobby beginning Thursday, November 16, 2023 through March 2024, and is open free to the public. 

Featured Artists:
Sarahjane Bernhisel
Ricky De Los Angeles
Andreas Deja
Pete Docter
Ocean Escalanti
Audric Goo
Carole Holliday
Orlie Kapitulnik
Lisa Keene
Isabella Kung
Michael McConnell
Kristina Micotti
Walter Miller
Lily Miller
Chris Miller
John Musker
Christo Oropeza
Minnie Phan
Ryan Riller
Harumo Sato
Owen Smith
Mark Ulriksen
Elizabeth Uyehara
Michael Wertz