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New documentary features 5,500 portraits of euthanized dogs

Mark Barone wants to use his art to effect social change. A new documentary by Sagacity Productions, An Act of Dog, plans to follow the artist as he paints 5,500 portraits of deceased shelter dogs to represent the number of dogs euthanized in shelters daily across the United States.

Artist Mark Barone works on 5,500 portraits of euthanized shelter dogs.
Sagacity Productions

I knew it had to be monumental to incite change, so I decided to put a face to that statistic.”
—Mark Barone, Artist

Barone and partner Marina Dervan are attempting to create a museum exhibit of the thousands of portraits, which range from 12" square panels to monumental 8' x 8' works. The paintings will fill a space that stretches two football fields wide.

According to Mother Nature Network, Barone and Dervan have worked on the project seven days a week for the past two years, with Barone painting 10 dogs a day. So far, Barone has completed over 3,700 portraits.

“My intent…is to put the soul back into these animals who have been lost,” says Barone. He and Dervan began the project after Barone’s 21-year-old dog, Santina, passed away. As the couple searched for a shelter dog to adopt, they became aware of the US shelter system's euthanasia statistics and felt compelled to act. “These paintings, when you know the stories, are so difficult to paint,” said Barone. “I want people to look at this exhibition so they actually get engaged.”

The documentary is currently being crowdfunded via Kickstarter and through the artist’s website, An Act of Dog.

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