JAVMArt Jubilee, VetartNow raise more than $25K to help dogs in need

The JAVMArt Jubilee event on July 15 brought together artists, veterinarians, and guests to celebrate the veterinary and art worlds' union during AVMA Convention 2023 in Denver. Further celebration was in order when it was announced that proceeds from the event eclipsed $12,500, which will be matched by Hill's Pet Nutrition, for a total of more than $25,000 benefiting The Street Dog Coalition (SDC).

JAVMArt Jubilee
Celebrating at the JAVMArt Jubilee are (left to right) (back row): Dr. Sarah Wright, associate editor for JAVMA and AJVR; Dr. Lisa Fortier, editor-in-chief for JAVMA and AJVR; Dr. Tracy Royer, JAVMA cover artist; Dr. Patti Canchola, VetartNow artist; Dr. Ken Gorczyca, JAVMA cover artist and VetartNow artist; Dr. Bruce Francke, VetartNow artist; Dr. Evelyn Meyer, JAVMA cover artist; Dr. John Plishka, JAVMA cover artist and VetartNow artist; Dr. Michelle Smith, JAVMA cover artist; and Dr. Janet Donlin, executive vice president and CEO of AVMA. (Front row): Dr. Michelle McCune, JAVMA cover artist and VetartNow artist, and Dr. Xenia Zawadzkas, JAVMA cover artist.

Originating in Fort Collins, Colorado, the SDC is an international nonprofit with teams across the United States and Ukraine providing free medical care and related services to pets of people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

The benefit was organized by VETartNOW, an organization co-founded by Drs. Jolle Kirpensteijn, Ken Gorczyca, and John Plishka, to unite veterinary professionals who create art and support veterinary wellbeing through art.

More than a dozen JAVMArt and VetartNow artists attended the JAVMArt Jubilee event, which celebrated 50 years of renowned animal art by showcasing 181 pieces of cover art from JAVMA since 1973. The VetartNow artists also held an art auction of 22 original works from members of VetartNow which raised the $12,500.

"Art is such a wonderful way to express yourself," noted Dr. Kirpensteijn, chief veterinary officer at Hill's Pet Nutrition. "Amidst the storm of stress, let art be your refuge. Brush strokes, melodies, and creative expressions can weave a tapestry of solace, nurturing your personal wellness. In the realm of art, we will find freedom, healing, and a sanctuary for your soul, transcending the burdens of our profession."

"As artists and veterinarians, it was a life dream for our VetartNow membership to share our creativity in the true spirit of the 'art of veterinary medicine,'" said Dr. Gorczyca, a veterinary artist and end-of-life doula and veterinarian at A Gentle Rest, a pet afterlife care company. "We also believe that everyone deserves the healing power of animal companionship, and the Street Dog Coalition illuminates the compassion and empathy of the veterinary community."

The inaugural art piece from the auction, titled "Tryptic," was created by Drs. Bruce Francke, Roeland Wessels and Jolle Kirpensteijn. The piece, made with wood from every continent except Antarctica, reflects birds from around the world. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) purchased the artwork to display at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois, and donated the proceeds to the SDC.

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 was to celebrate the art created by those associated with the veterinary profession—veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary students, and their families and friends.

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 is now available for purchase at the online AVMA store.

"It's truly amazing how talented these veterinary artists are and what wonderful stories they have to share about their artwork subjects," said AVMA Editor-in-Chief Dr. Lisa Fortier. "The AVMA was proud to celebrate this momentous occasion with them, everyone at conventions, VetartNow, Merck Animal Health, Western Veterinary Partners, Hill's Pet Nutrition, and the Street Dog Coalition."

Anyone interested in submitting artwork to be considered for the cover of JAVMA can email Stacey Geelan at sageelanatavma [dot] org (sageelan[at]avma[dot]org). Artwork requests from veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary students will be prioritized.