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The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

One Man Painting 5,500 Shelter Dogs

Barone and Dervan began An Act of Dog in May of 2011, and so far Barone has painted more than 3,000 dogs.
Barone and Dervan began An Act of Dog in May of 2011, and so far Barone has painted more than 3,000 dogs.

 

Mark Barone has been an artist for over thirty years and an animal lover his entire life. With his current project, An Act of Dog, Barone plans on painting 5,500 shelter dogs in order to raise money for shelters and promote social change with his art. Barone, along with partner and co-founder Marina Dervan, was inspired to start the project when the pair decided to adopt a dog. What they discovered was unsettling.

“We found out all the ways in which our archaic shelter system was killing approximately 5 million animals every year. It would have been much easier for us to just turn away, tell ourselves that we were powerless to do anything and to simply carry on with our comfortable lives, but we couldn’t,” said Dervan.

Barone and Dervan became committed to saving shelter animals and started the non-profit project, An Act of Dog. They plan on raising a total of $20 million through donations.

They chose to use the number 5,500 because it represents how many animals are killed in shelters every day in the United States. It takes Barone approximately half an hour to paint a dog, and he plans on eventually housing his artwork in a memorial museum where 100 percent of the museum’s profits will go towards no-kill shelters and similar groups working towards the same goal.

Barone and Dervan began An Act of Dog in May of 2011, and so far Barone has painted more than 3,000 dogs. The duo hopes to begin a partnership to help get the memorial museum up and running.

“We are looking to partner with a philanthropist who loves animals and art, and who wants to be instrumental in this much needed change, or with a city, who wants to donate a building and partner with us for this one of a kind memorial museum, as it will be the first and only of its kind in the world,” Dervan said.

The ultimate goal of An Act of Dog is for shelters to adopt the no-kill solution. This includes facilitating changes and improvements with how shelters are run, including high-volume and low-cost spaying and neutering, comprehensive adoption programs and behavior prevention and rehabilitation.

Realizing that shelter animals are powerless and that most large animal charity donations go towards lobbying for livestock in D.C. along with other animal rights agendas, Barone and Dervan decided they had to act.

Dervan explains, “We realized that the only ones who were actually powerless were the animals themselves, because they were completely dependent upon us to do the right thing. With the deepest empathy, we were moved to action, and are now making our voices matter by speaking up for them all.”