AMATO Biography

Biography – John Smith-Amato, Director, Synchronicity Fine Arts

John Smith-Amato is Co-Founder and Director of Synchronicity Space.  Established in 1988, Synchronicity Space, is an internationally recognized (501 C-3; not for profit) arts organization. Our mission: to produce and nurture theatre, both locally and internationally; promote, conceive and develop  fine art exhibitions in local and international gallery venues and provide support and services for the development and promotion of emerging visual artists. Synchronicity was conceived to provide services, which encourage artist accountability in the exposure, fiscal awareness and presentation of their work.  Mr. Amato has initiated and developed programs for young playwrights and poets, writers, painters, actors and children’s theatre.  He has collaborated with community organizations developing programs to benefit the fiscal needs of developing and emerging artists  as well as educational institutions and sparsely funded arts programs that are designed to commingle differing cultures.   Some such organizations that have benefited by Synchronicity’s endeavors are: The Dwelling Place, a New York women’s shelter, the Chinese American Association for Battered Women, scores of NY theatre companies, the Artists’ Alliance, NYU Medical School, St. Vincent’s Hospital, NYU Film School, Graymoor/ St. Christopher’s Inn and countless international arts organizations like Synchronicity Space around the world.  Since its inception, Synchronicity Space has been active in producing, presenting, exhibiting and sponsoring national and international artists and theatre projects.  The efforts of the organization have given the public the opportunity to experience the diverse cultural interpretations of artists from: Africa, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Ireland, England, Israel, Japan, Hungary, Latin America, Poland and Russia.

Mr. Amato, prior to his founding Synchronicity Space, was collaborator and developer of two other like organizations while living and teaching abroad in Japan and France.  These organizations are still actively presenting and exhibiting artists in the spirit in which they were established.  He has extensive experience producing, presenting and exhibiting in the United State and abroad while working with artists in the development of theatre companies and their artistic vision.  During his 25 years as Director of Synchronicity, he has presented more than 350 theatre, dance, music and performance productions and exhibited more than 320 visual artists in New York and internationally.  Synchronicity continues to sponsor artists in international residency exchange programs in association with 13 international sister sites

Mr. Amato pursued his master’s degree in comparative literature at Columbia University, which included one year as an assistant to Lionel Trilling (who, in 1975 passed away and which lead Amato to his next journey).   He did his post graduate studies in painting and drawing with Norman Raeben at his Carnegie Hall Studio in New York, NY (who passed away in 1978 )  which brought Amato to the next stage of his development and L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, France,  where after he completed his post graduate degree (MFA- studio art) Amato was asked to stay on as an instructor (by the then Chair: Pierre La Forrestier. (teaching painting and drawing at Beaux Arts) While living and working in Paris, he became involved with the “Theatre du Soleil” first as an intern novice but eventually in development and political liaise in Paris. Also, while living and teaching in Paris, Amato had the privledge to study with Francoise Dolto at the Sorbonne while getting his License (2 year program ) in Behavioral Psychology; He began work with that credential at “L’Institut de Reeducation” just outside of Paris near Coulommiers. It was at this time that he began his research and development of “Art as Therapy”.  Amato returned to NYC to exhibit his work with Pierre Matisse Gallery in 1982-3 after which he departed for Japan to study and teach in Kyoto. In what as to be a short visit to explore the light and landscapes of Japan, his journey became a two ½ year love affair. While living in Japan, he found a teaching position engaging the Western Approach to Painting, which included one year at Kyoto University.  He also founded a performance art Gallery/Theatre that remains act today in downtown Kyoto. Upon his return from Japan he established Synchronicity Space as a not –or-profit arts organization and has been it’s director ever since.  Amato has taught painting and drawing for 35 years on the secondary, undergraduate, graduate levels in education.

In 2006 and up to the present, John has been teaching “art as therapy” at Saint Christopher’s Inn/ Graymoor, two minutes from his home, on a very special mountain, in Garrison, NY.  In the time (8 years) he has spent treating the men in recovery from alcohol and substance dependency, Amato has developed a methodology for treating addiction. His process is designed to connect perception to behavior ( with a clear focus on CBT) and help the men develop, reinvent and reestablish innocence in their lives and understanding. The innocence, once reestablished, enables the clients to put into action, coping skills of awareness and practice, that will help them reinvent their behavioral context and perspectives on life. He considers this part of his career as the “high point” to date. Amato was also the director of the art therapy program at St. Christopher’s Inn in Garrison, NY, an institution with a history of 103 years and recognized as accomplishing the highest recovery rate in the country for men suffering from substance and alcohol dependency. At Graymoor, aside from treating patients, he had been developing a new methodology, integrating various art forms  therapeutically, in so doing,  providing context for perception as a source of reinvention.  As such, by connecting perception to behavior,  his clients/patients develop coping skills to move forward in a healthier connectivity to their world. Rcently, he has been teaching this methodology throughout the tri-state area at universities and colleges in a seminar formats throughout New York State.

Mr. Amato continues his career as a painter and exhibitions of his paintings continue to be shown in galleries and museums and have become a part of institutional, Corp. and Private collections worldwide.  His most prestigious showings were at the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, the Kyoto National Museum, Okazaki National Museum, and Suzuki Gallery, Kyoto, Japan,  Kunsthaus in Hamburg and Berlin, Germany, the Brookhaven Museum in Southampton, NY, Pierre Matisse Galarie and Grand Hotel Salon in Paris, France; Barone Arte Contemporaranes, Milano, Italy; Borar Galarie, Istanbul, Turkey .