“Humanitarian artist” John Donato’s paintings are designed not just to please the eye but to benefit the community as a whole
John Donato’s work is often described as “whimsical” — and while that may in fact be his style, its impact has far more gravitas. A self-described “humanitarian artist,” Donato is on a mission to share his art as a way to bring people together to better the community.
A classically trained graphic artist (“long before the world of computer graphics”) and successful corporate marketer, Donato did not pick up a paintbrush until 2010 and immediately lost his heart.
Since establishing his business, Donato’s accomplished dozens of projects on Delmarva and beyond. He recently worked with community organizations to complete a massive mural project for the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, a 75-foot-long, five-phase piece, showing the history, present day and imagined future of the town.
His grant-based, character-building murals for the Freeman Foundation are created and installed at local schools. They involve “every last person in the building,” with students and staff working together for a week at a time. The goal is to help develop a “growth mindset” that underscores to kids that by working together, anything is possible.
Recent pieces for the University of Maryland’s Alumni Association and Bethany Boathouse show his flair for sea creatures. His work at the Bottle & Cork — which began when he painted its now signature calendar on the side of the building — has taken off inside as well, with an ever-changing array of murals and selfie-spots. All convey a positive, exciting energy meant to brighten the world and make it a better place.
The work — and as much fun as it is, it is work — can benefit nearly any nonprofit organization, community, school or corporate client.
“At the end of the day, it’s about ‘smile impact,’” said Donato. “That means making people smile when they look at the art so that they are in better mindset to do good things.”
JOHN DONATO ART
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