Veterinarians Donate Artwork to Raise Funds for The Street Dog Coalition during the AVMA Convention; Proceeds Matched by Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Drs. Kirpensteijn  and Gorczyca at the Vet Now Art Exhibit, AVMA Convention

Drs. Kirpensteijn and Gorczyca at the Vet Now Art Exhibit, AVMA Convention

During the American Veterinary Medical Association’s recent annual Convention, veterinarians donated personal artwork through the VETartNow initiative to benefit The Street Dog Coalition, a nonprofit which provides free medical care and related services to pets of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness around the country.

A total of $12,500 was raised through sales of the artwork, and a matching gift from Hill’s Pet Nutrition brought the amount donated to $25,000.

The benefit was organized by VETartNOW, an organization co-founded by Dr. Jolle Kirpensteijn, Chief Veterinary Officer at Hill’s Pet Nutrition; Dr. Ken Gorczyca, and Dr. John Plishka, to unite veterinary professionals who create art and support veterinary well-being through art.

The idea of an art show at the AVMA Convention, which was held July 14-18, 2023 in Denver, resulted from the Journal of the American Veterinary Association’s celebration of 50 years of the renowned animal art that has appeared on the magazine’s covers since 1973.

“In 2022, we inventoried all the cover art and arrived at more than 1,000 amazing pieces, an extraordinary collection that speaks volumes about our communal love of the unique beauty of animals—domestic, wild, companion, feathered, finned, hooved, and furred,” said Dr. Lisa A. Fortier, JAVMA Editor-in-Chief. “It’s truly amazing how talented these veterinary artists are and what wonderful stories they have to share about their artwork subjects.”

Of those covers, 181 were created by members of the veterinary community and were displayed at the Convention. Also, in collaboration with VETartNOW, art by 17 members of the veterinary community was donated for sale at a silent auction, with proceedings benefiting The Street Dog Coalition.

“Art is such a wonderful way to express yourself,” noted Dr. Kirpensteijn. “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. “We also believe that everyone deserves the healing power of animal companionship, and Street Dog Coalition illuminates the compassion and empathy of the veterinary community.”

Katrina Weschler, Executive Director of The Street Dog Coalition, said: “Art and animals both make this world a better place, and that is the goal of The Street Dog Coalition – to make this world a better place by caring for both ends of the leash. We were honored to learn the VETartNOW auction was supporting our mission, and we were thrilled to hear of the matching gift from Hill’s Pet Nutrition. It goes to show how generous (and multi-talented) the AVMA community is.”

The next VETartNOW exhibition will be held at the AVMA Convention in June 2024 in Austin, TX.

About The Street Dog Coalition

The Street Dog Coalition (SDC) started in 2015 with one team in Fort Collins, CO. It is now an international nonprofit with teams across the United States and in Ukraine providing free medical care and related services to pets of people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. Volunteers include veterinarians, vet techs, vet assistants, students, social workers, human healthcare professionals and human-animal bond advocates. SDC’s four core values are unconditional love, compassionate activism, unbridled collaboration, and trust. SDC looks at the leash as a lifeline and cares for the mental and physical health on both ends, delivering services with compassion and kindness, devoid of judgment or conditions. SDC’s legacy sponsors include Merck Animal Health and Western Veterinary Partners. For more information, or to donate, visit



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