2013 Pet Hero Award Winner - An Act of Dog ~ One Man

Painting 5500 Shelter dogs; using Art for Social Change

Animal Welfare Arts


Mark Barone and Marina Dervan are co-founders of the non-profit “An Act of Dog.” Prior to starting their charity, Mark had been an Artist for over 30 years, with his work featured in top art publications, awarded and exhibited throughout America, with much of his work hanging in private and corporation collections all over the World. In addition to this his art career, he has been a consultant to Cities across America, showing them how to use the arts to revitalize blighted neighborhoods, and is revered for his successful creation and implementation of the, “Paducah Artist Relocation Program,” in Paducah, Kentucky. Marina had spent her prior twenty years coaching Corporate Executives from Wall Street and North America, to the city of London and Continental Europe. She devoted her life to finding compassionate solutions to “people problems” and developed her own system for identifying and navigating through the deluge of Human Emotions and physical ails.


In 2010, after losing Mark’s dog, Santina (who was 21 years old at the time), they decided to move to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and make it their forever home. They were so certain they’d live and retire there, until one cold January day, when a different kind of plan presented itself, just five months after moving there! While staying inside from the cold,


Marina began looking online to adopt another dog. However, instead of finding a Dog, she found out about the staggering number of animals being put to death everyday in our shelters. Feeling both sad and outraged, she shared this info with Mark, sparking an intense dialogue and a desire to face the problem head on and come up with a creative solution to change the status quo.


Mark decided he would paint 5500 shelter dogs to represent the number of dogs put to death every day, and create a stirring Memorial Museum to raise twenty million + for shelters/rescues, and become an educational platform, ushering us towards a no-kill nation.


Mark and Marina soon realized that in order to pull this off, it was going to require 100% commitment from them both; which meant giving up their jobs and income, cashing in all of their retirement savings, and living frugally for a few years, and maybe even forever.


They are now in their search to partner with a compassionate Philanthropist and Visionary City, so that they can permanently house, what will be...“The first and only Memorial Museum of its kind in the World.” (100% of funds to be donated towards saving shelter animals).


“It is imperative that the Memorial has a permanent location, so it can serve as a dependable source of funds for the animals long after we’ve gone, and be a reminder of what we must strive to reach and sustain forever…a no-kill nation.” They are focused on keeping the media saturated with “An Act of Dog” And have had extensive media coverage, starting with USA TODAY, more recently Oprah’s Magazine, “O,” National Geographic, and are now working on more TV exposure.




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