Diane D. Mason's bronze sculpture of a burrowing owl standing on a pair of binoculars is a reminder that observation equipment isn't needed to appreciate nature.
"When we're out in nature, we're always so busy," Mason said. "You know, we've got our binoculars or our cameras or whatever, and we forget to just observe."
Mason, of Berthoud, Colo., won the $1,000 Best of Show award with her sculpture "Who's Looking at Who?" at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine's 23rd International Exhibition on Animals in Art, which ran from March 27-April 25.
Christine R. Mitchell, director of the School of Veterinary Medicine Library and co-chair of the exhibition, said the school received 477 submissions from artists in 36 states, Canada, and Poland. Of the 75 works accepted and shown in the exhibition, 25 were sold for a total of $10,033, of which the school will receive 20 percent, or $2,927.
Mason said the owls common near her home inspired her to work on the sculpture. She started work in Sept. 2007 and completed the sculpture in April 2008, and the piece shown at the LSU exhibition was one of the two artist proofs cast for an edition of 19 sculptures.
Mason's work has previously appeared in JAVMA. Her bronze rooster sculpture "Charlie and the Bug" appeared on the cover of the June 1, 2003, edition. It was also an entry in that year's exhibition at LSU.
Dr. Kurt J. Matushek, AVMA editor-in-chief, selected the pastel "Target Sited" by Jody Freeland of Colorado Springs, Colo., to appear on the cover of this issue.
"There were so many wonderful pieces in this year's show that it really was difficult to select just one," Dr. Matushek said. "Freeland's use of color and ability to portray the tension in that moment just before strike was ultimately what set it apart."
Kathy Reeves of Denham Springs, La., won the SVM Award for "A Mother's Love," a photograph of two giraffes. Her work will be shown on the cover of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine's course catalog.
While the school receives a portion of the price of each work sold, Mitchell said the event is as much for public outreach as for fundraising. She said the event was started as a way for members of the community to celebrate the roles of animals in their lives.
"I think it's a really good event to bring people together, and it's a good way to showcase the school," Mitchell said.