Few people realize that roughly 5,500 dogs are euthanized at shelters across the country each day. To put the enormity of that number into perspective, artist Mark Barone set out to paint 5,500 dogs – each with their name and kill date – as a call to action to find alternatives to the daily practice, including no-kill shelters or other animal rescue initiatives.
An Act of Dog, a new documentary premiering Sunday, Dec. 10 at 10:30/9:30 pm on KET2 and Sunday, Jan. 14 at 3/2 pm on KET, offers an intimate look at the emotional, physical and financial toll that the project has on Barone, who for a time was based in Louisville. Barone now lives in Santa Fe, N.M., with his life and project partner Marina Dervan – who is featured prominently in the documentary. There, he continues to paint to raise funds on behalf of animal welfare causes and to one day establish a permanent museum for the An Act of Dog collection.
The documentary, which includes footage filmed in Louisville, follows Barone as he nears his 5,500 goal, while spotlighting the reverence and care he puts into each painting. “After I’d done the first one hundred paintings, it was almost crushing to realize I still had 5,400 to do,” he says in the film. As his retirement savings dwindle and the hours of painting take their toll on his relationship with Dervan, Barone nonetheless stays the course. Quitting, he says, was never an option.
“These paintings, once you know the stories, are so difficult to paint,” Barone says. “I hope that people will get moved to action by the exhibition.”
An Act of Dog is a Sagacity Productions film, produced by Bonnie Silva and directed by Russ Barry.
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