JAVMArt Jubilee celebrates 50 years of JAVMA cover art

Updated June 14, 2023

Fifty years of JAVMA cover art will be celebrated during AVMA Convention 2023, happening July 14-18 in Denver, as part of this year’s JAVMArt Jubilee.

The milestone event will showcase the 181 pieces of animal art to have graced the cover of JAVMA since 1973, when then AVMA Editor-in-Chief Arthur Freeman began running full-color reproductions of artwork on first-of-the-month issue covers.

JAVMArt jubilee
The coffee table–style book, “JAVMArt Jubilee: Celebrating 50 Years of Our Favorite Cover Art,” will be available for purchase at the online AVMA store starting in July.

“The JAVMA cover has long been highly coveted real estate,” observed AVMA Editor-in-Chief Lisa Fortier. “Readers genuinely enjoy seeing the beauty of animals depicted in various mediums, and artists are grateful to have their work featured on the cover of the world’s premiere veterinary journal.”

Initially, JAVMA cover art featured paintings curated from museums and galleries and appeared on first-of-the-month issues, while midmonth issues featured titles of some of the scientific reports in the issue. That changed in 1990, when then AVMA Editor-in-Chief Albert Koltveit started running artwork on midmonth covers as well.

During her tenure as AVMA editor-in-chief from 1995-2009, Dr. Janis Audin tended to select artwork from professional artists that highlighted one or more animal species featured in notable news or scientific articles within that issue.

Dr. Fortier’s decisions for cover art are driven by the artist expressions of the veterinary community and their relationship to animals.

“We’re trying to focus on people associated with the veterinary community and those pieces that speak to the human-animal bond,” she explained.

In all, there have been more than 1,000 pieces of artwork that have been featured on JAVMA covers. One of the primary goals of the JAVMArt Jubilee is to celebrate the art created by those associated with the veterinary profession—veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary students, and their families and friends.

JAVMA cover
The top 12 JAVMA cover illustrations—as voted on by the JAVMArt Jubilee Committee and attendees at the 2022 AVMA Convention in Philadelphia—appear on the cover of the April 2023 issue of JAVMA.

To do so, AVMA Publications Division staff members read all the “About the Cover” statements published in JAVMA last year and identified 181 covers created by members of the veterinary community. Then the 19 members of the JAVMArt Jubilee Committee selected their top 10 covers. The results were tallied to reveal the top 25 covers, which were then voted on by attendees of AVMA Convention 2022 in Philadelphia to pare down the list to the top 12 JAVMA cover illustrations. These pieces are being reproduced in the 2023 issues of JAVMA and as a collage on the cover of the April issue.

In addition, all 181 pieces of cover art are being recognized with reproduction in a special book titled, “JAVMArt Jubilee: Celebrating 50 Years of Our Favorite Cover Art.” The coffee table–style book will be available for purchase at the online AVMA store starting in July.

The JAVMArt Jubilee event during convention kicks off with a reception from 2-2:50 p.m. MDT on Saturday, July 15 in the Digital District of the exhibit hall at the Colorado Convention Center. More than a dozen artists with VetartNow will be in attendance. Their cover art can be viewed after the opening event during exhibit hall hours until 3 p.m. MST on July 17.

Also during the celebration, VetartNow is sponsoring a silent auction of 22 original works from members of the veterinary community. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to The Street Dog Coalition, which provides free medical care and related services to pets of people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

A version of this story appears in the July 2023 print issue of JAVMA.