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Leslie Elsasser - Introduction
Christian Cortes

Crimi Arrieta - Relative of US Army Veteran
Patricia Colbert - US Army
Gail Cross - US Air Force
Dr. Charlie Ferrer - US Army
Janine Hargrett - US Army
Valerie Larson - US Air Force
Kevin Lipton - US Army
Dolores Matteo - US Army
Karidad Ramis-Hartman - US Army
Roger St. Julian - US Army
Monika Sutton - Spouse of US Army Veteran
Viana L.M. Tavares-Fischer - US Army

Manfredo Bobadilla - US Army
Agustin Collazo Jr. - US Marine Corps / US Navy
Amanda Dodd - US Army
Evan Fountain - US Air Force
Derek Hopkins - US Air Force
Mikko Maki - US Marine Corps
Alicia Morales - US Army
Chris Smith - Spouse of US Army Veteran
Kimberlee Nicole Smith - US Army
RaeAnne Swanson - US Air Force


Dolores Matteo, 3rd Step - Peaceful Harmony, 2023.

Dolores Matteo, 3rd Step - Peaceful Harmony, 2023.


Dad’s Got it!

3rd Step - Peaceful Harmony 

“The Process of Discovering Me” 

After a 20-year military career, motherhood, empty nest syndrome, getting divorced (for the 3rd and last time…I won’t try that again LOL), surviving cancer, and the loss of both parents, I found myself alone for the first time. I was alone but I discovered I wasn’t lonely. The journey of rediscovery allowed me the freedom to make choices for myself and be responsible for only myself-o matter what. It was an awakening of extreme soul searching and a self-awareness and self-respect at how far I’ve come and how I continue to be. I practice the mantras live in the moment, cherish those you love, and be kind to all you meet as you never know where someone is in their own journey. I wish I knew myself like this when I was in my 20s but that is what life is about-learning as we go and keeping that which helps us grow. Each lesson makes us who we are today. I AM at a very peaceful and self-aware state of being and I will not lose myself again. It’s been a journey, and I am grateful! 



Dolores Matteo, 1st Step - The Search, 2023.

Dolores Matteo, 1st Step - The Search, 2023.

Dolores Matteo, 2nd Step - Deep Look Inside, 2023.

Dolores Matteo, 2nd Step - Deep Look Inside, 2023.



For more information:
Email Leslie Elsasser at

Breaking Barriers is a program by USF Contemporary Art Museum in collaboration with the USF School of Art & Art History, is supported by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, USF Office of Veterans Success, Community Arts Impact Grant of the Hillsborough Arts Council, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, Love IV Lawrence, USFCAM ACE (Art for Community Engagement) Fund Patrons, and the Florida Department of State, Florida Arts & Culture.