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Jurors set for 2023 Ohio Veterans Art Exhibition

Ohio Department of Veterans Services, Press Release

The Ohio Department of Veterans Services (ODVS), through its ongoing partnership with the Ohio Arts Council, continues to make preparations for the 2023 Ohio Veterans Art Exhibition, which will be on display in downtown Columbus beginning next month.

Now that the deadline to submit works for this display has passed – and with opening of this exhibition just weeks away – ODVS is pleased to announce the three-person panel of expert jurors who are tasked with determining which works are most worthy to be part of the exhibition. Those three individuals, who all hail from central Ohio, are Matt Porter, Kurt Reichert and Veronica Shields.

Porter and Shields are military veterans with years of experience with a variety of art mediums. Reichert is a household name in the local art community and a longtime art teacher. Their bios are below.

A 1988 graduate of Fort Hayes School for Performing & Visual Arts, Porter received a scholarship and briefly attended the Columbus College of Art & Design. He also served as student assistant to local sculptors Ken Valimaki and Jonathan Gilbert, and he has worked extensively with artists-in-residence Ban Kajitani and Barbara Chavous.

Porter works in many mediums and has had multiple sculptures and paintings selected as finalists for both the Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition and the Liturgical Art Guild of Ohio Exhibition.

Porter proudly served in the U.S. Army as a Cavalry Scout from 1990-96 in the 3rd Infantry Division, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment (active duty) as well as the 2nd Squadron, 107th Cavalry Regiment (Ohio National Guard).

He completed his undergraduate studies at Ohio Dominican University (B.S.) and earned a graduate degree in Homeland Security Administration from Tiffin University (M.S.). In 2016, he created Sky Burial Design – a small custom design and screen-printing service. He currently works for a global telecommunications company as a fiber optic engineer.

Well-known and highly accomplished in the central Ohio art community, Reichert is a retired art teacher, having taught 35 years in the Mentor Public School System.

In addition to teaching art, he has been an active leader in the Ohio Art Education Association for 40 years, serving in several offices and appointments.
Moving from the Cleveland area to enjoy retirement with family in Columbus, Reichert often now spends his time doing projects with his three grandchildren and decorating his church.

He is a photographer, painter and textile artist having exhibited in several shows in Central Ohio. The creative thrill of his lifetime was being one of the Christmas decorating volunteers for the White House in 2014.

Shields is a Columbus native, Army veteran and artist. Her work includes metal work, stone carving, wood carving, blacksmithing, sketching, leather craft, beading, poetry and photography.

Starting in 2008, she competed in beading at the VA National Art Competition at the Chillicothe VA. She has competed and placed in photography, metal work, mixed media and blacksmithing. One of her stone carvings is on display at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Many of her talents are self-taught, but she has acquired several other skills via instruction.

Shields is a retired emergency department RN and lives in the Hocking Hills area of Ohio. Her affiliation is with the Columbus (Ohio) VA outpatient clinic, stating, “I never would have learned how to carve, sketch, and work leather if it had not been for the Columbus VAOPC and the Art Initiative program.”

She currently serves as a volunteer for the Art Initiative at the Columbus VA.

In total, ODVS received 118 eligible submissions for this exhibition. Those pieces, broken down by medium, are as follows: paintings (41), photography (29), drawings (19), multimedia (12), ceramics (7), sculpture (2) and others (8). Through the use of a five-star rating system, the jurors have reviewed each submission.

ODVS will be reaching out to all artists in the coming weeks and the pieces will be on display and visible in the lobby of the Riffe Center for Government and the Arts just outside the Riffe Gallery in downtown Columbus beginning Oct. 23 and running through Dec. 8. More information on a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the 2023 Ohio Veterans Art Exhibition will follow.

This summer, ODVS made an open call to Ohio’s active duty and veteran artists, inviting them to showcase their artistic talents for this wide-ranging and public event. Veteran art is prevalent in many forms across Ohio and creating it is widely encouraged by the VA and other agencies and organizations as a healthy outlet for former service members.