Meet John and Dorianne Venator

“The legacy will continue after we are gone,” explains John. “The house, the collection, and an endowment will pass on to a private foundation which is charged with continuing to use the house as it is currently being used to the public benefit.”

John - born in Portland, Oregon. He spent his grade school years in Chicago/ His family moved back to Portland and went to high school and then Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. John has a BS in Business Administration - Marketing

Dorianne born in the western suburbs of Chicago, went to grade school and high school in the same suburb. She went to the Loyola University of Chicago and received a BA in Communications-Journalism / Interpersonal Relations.

Dorianne worked for a number of years at American Airlines in various phases of ground passenger services, but wanted to go into sales. She left American Airlines to go into hotel sales and had a successful career as director of sales for a number of years working for small deluxe boutique hotels in Chicago.

Later she decided to change careers and advanced to meeting planning for several associations, and later for Quaker Oats, which became part of Pepsico, where she did executive and employee training and development.

As a meeting manager, Dorianne was recognized by Meeting Planners International (MPI) for her work in securing the designation of meeting planning as an official career category from the US Department of Labor. She was also active in the Chicago Chapter of MPI. Dorianne played the violin from grade school through high school, in quartets, and beyond and still plays the violin for personal enjoyment. She is currently taking lessons to learn mariachi violin music.

John worked initially for a large insurance company after college doing marketing and sales promotion. He then changed directions in his career and went to work for an association in the medical field as Director of Membership services. In subsequent years he moved on to larger associations in positions of increasing responsibility. For the last 23 years, before he retired to live full time in Valladolid, he was President and CEO of a worldwide trade association in the computer field with 16 offices and 165 employees throughout the world to serve the membership of approx. 22,000 members. The annual operating budget was in excess of 55 million dollars. John and Dorianne met some 30+ years ago when John interviewed Dorianne for a Senior Director of Meetings and Conventions position with the association he worked for. He offered her the job, but for other career reasons, she chose to turn down the job offer. Several months later John and Dorianne had their first date. Three years later they were married in Japan and honeymooned in Asia and Hawaii.

They lived together in Chicago until they moved to Valladolid and were involved in the Chicago art community. John was founding member and served as President of the Men's Council of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Dorianne served on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Contemporary Arts Council, the Intuit Museum of Outsider Art, and still serves on the board of directors of the Chicago Chamber Music Society. John and Dorianne mainly collected figurative surrealist art in Chicago. When they moved full time to live in Valladolid they donated over 100 pieces of art to a number of Chicago Museums.

John first came to Mexico when he was a freshman in College and lived in Puebla with a doctor and his family (with whom he and Dorianne visit periodically), and then in Mexico DF, and was able to tour around Mexico. Even then, John was buying a few pieces of Mexican folk art. John and Dorianne first bought some time shares in Cancun in the early 1970s and later decided that they wanted a full time home in Mexico. Subsequently, they purchased a condo at a beach front resort in Cancun and later bought a 3 story home on the ocean also in Cancun, which they still own.

In October 2000, after looking around various parts of Mexico for a traditional colonial home with a large central patio, they settled on Valladolid and purchased what is now 'Casa de los Venados.' After 8-1/2 years in remodelation, the house was livable and John and Dorianne started moving their Mexican folk art and contemporary art collection into the house - AND accelerated their collecting with the assistance and mentor ship of a number of experts in Mexican folk art to bring their collection to its current level and quality to about 3,000+ pieces.

John and Dorianne believe in sharing their art collection and look at their role more as that of "custodians" of the collection. They open their home every day at 10 AM for public tours in both English and Spanish. In the long run, the art collection, the house and an endowment will go to a private foundation, which is charged with continuing to operate the home as a private house museum open to the public, as well as hosting various musical events and other public events.