“I gave them my all and they gave me back my life.” ~Mark Barone
“As you sow, so shall you reap…” is from the King James Version of the Bible, Epistle to the Galatians, 6.7, and a quote with a strong meaning for karma. It means consequences of actions are in proportion to intentions. The seeds you have sown may be your children; your future. Do you want a future filled with cruelty or compassion?
You may have heard the saying, “An Act of God”, but what about An Act of Dog? And, what do art and compassion have to do with either phrase? More than you may imagine, especially if you love man’s-best-friend. This interview illustrates how painting with a purpose can save a dog’s life, improve our world, and create a better future for our children one gentle stroke at a time.
According to studies cited in Stanford Social Innovation Review and Prezi artists have a powerful medium for reporting on the consciousness of our civilization. By combining the two parallel pathways of art and compassion a powerful engine for social change can be created.
Mark Barone and Marina Dervan create art-work that saves lives every day, because animal lives matter, too.
Marina Dervan is a twenty year veteran of coaching corporate executives from Wall Street to Continental Europe. But her most recent endeavor is one generated from the heart. She is the co-founder of the charity, An Act of Dog. Charity founder artist Mark Barone and Marina created the working, interactive Museum of Compassion where children can come to expression their passion and follow their path of emotional self-discovery concerning all acts of love and atrocities in society, but especially those for and against animals.
“All children are born artists,” Picasso said. Marina and Mark agree.
As a narrative painter for thirty-five years, Mark never had any interest in painting “pretty art” for the wall. His work always has a purpose and a spiritual foundation with a focus on the struggles of the human condition. Now his art and charity is impacting change for our animal friends. Mark’s personal story of redemption includes two cherished dogs, Santina and Rudy. It is the power of dog-love that powers Mark’s paint brushes and Marina’s media engagements.
It all started so innocently.
Marina had always considered herself to be a cat-lady until she met Santina, the brown eyed dog who stole her heart. When twenty-two-year-old Santina died Mark and Marina were devastated. They grieved, as many parents do after losing a fur-child.
When Marina decided to adopt another dog her heart and dreams were shattered again by a waking nightmare.
While searching online she discovered the appalling graphic evidence pointing to the chilling numbers of animals being dumped and destroyed every day. Animals that had once been a part of someone’s family were killed in mind-boggling numbers.
Marina and Mark could have turned away and few would have faulted them for it. After all, what could two people possibly do to make any difference in the lives of so many deserted creatures destined for death?
Within two days of this gruesome discovery, Mark decides to paint the approximate number of dogs killed each day in shelters to illustrate the stark reality of our inhumane animal parenting and sheltering. It was a case of art to the rescue.
Thus began the 5,500 portraits of shelter dogs to create social awareness.
Mark’s goal is to use his art to bring to consciousness a need for compassion and social change to create a solution to this murder and thereby empower pets. He understands that creativity cultivates original ideas that have value and purpose.
Children’s pets and artwork go together like peanut butter and jelly. Mark explains, “kids are the unwrapped gifts to our future, and we believe it is critically important to put meaningful art back into schools to allow them the process of self-discovery and to ignite a desire to become informed about the atrocities in society.”
It is time to take a stand and make a change. Shelters used as stark holding tanks for death need to become compassionate foster care homes for pets. Art work created by children that focus on all God’s creatures can become the messenger for social change.
It is Mark and Marina’s goal to help students use creativity to bring life-solutions into the light.
“Creativity is as important as literacy,” Mark says. It is also a way to illustrate the power of art in education because a picture is worth a thousand words.
Mark and Marina began to design and sell products around the world to raise the necessary funds to support the life-saving animal welfare organizations across the nations.
Soon after, An Act of Dog was born. The project has garnered the attention of worldwide media including Oprah, rising country star John Scargall, and they have partnered with filmmaker Sagacity Production which has almost completed the filming of a documentary about this timely and powerful project.
Mark and Marina’s actions are in proportion with their intention to make the world a better place. An Act of Dog is a stroke of genius by Mark and Marina who are making a big difference in the world, one painting at a time. What do you believe you can do?
VIDEO Interview- CLICK Link to WATCH https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzEpD7FHuiI
Photo Credit – All pictures and paintings are the property of Mark Barone who has given Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos permission to use them in her articles.