Diana Madaras Ups the Arts Ante in Tucson by Barbara Russek
Original acrylics by celebrated Tucson artist Diana Madaras, paintings and sculptures created by other Arizona artists, a selection of hand-made jewelry and many more objets d’art are gracefully displayed at the new seven-room Madaras Gallery, Inc. 3035 N. Swan Road, just north of Ft. Lowell.
The spacious gallery, which has the feel of a southwestern hacienda, had its grand opening on February 12, combining Madaras’ two existing art galleries (one on Skyline, the other on Broadway) into a fabulous art oasis here in the desert. Madaras states, “The timing was perfect. We had the resources to buy a building when we needed it, as the city had purchased our Broadway location for street widening.”
Diana Madaras, a native of Toms River, NJ, has been living in Tucson since 1977. Although she had done some painting in college, her brushes were put aside for many years, as she concentrated on different pursuits, including sports marketing. While on vacation at age 37, she was inspired by the works of another painter and never looked back.
“Painting is very meditative,” Madaras explained. “It allows me to connect to the earth. I draw inspiration anywhere I see sunlight and contrasting shadows.” During a day in her studio, she can easily spend six to eight hours painting. She has been named Tucson’s Best Artist seven times by various local reader polls.
Tucson’s artist-in-residence, Madaras also promotes the work of other artists in her gallery, saying that she likes to give customers choices. Speaking of choices, just about anyone can afford to buy something at the gallery. Southwestern gifts start at $20, canvas reproductions at $250 and her original paintings at $1200.
Madaras also gives back to the Tucson community. For example, she founded the non-profit Art for Animals that has raised almost $200,000 in the past 15 years to help ill, injured and abused animals in Southern Arizona. “Animals hold a very special place in my heart,” she said. No doubt the feeling is mutual.
Another interest is writing. Madras has authored three books, including her latest, The Colors of Tucson, which is a tour of The Old Pueblo through paintings. In addition to her artwork, Madras and her husband Miro, who met when she took ballroom dance lessons from him, participate in frequent dance competitions.
Diana Madaras extends a warm invitation to all art aficionados in the Vail area to attend complimentary Mimosa Sunday, from noon to 4 PM every Sunday. First Thursday, held each month from 5-7 PM, features a different program at each reception. Both events, held at the gallery, will continue throughout the summer.
Madaras Gallery, Inc. is open Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM, Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM. For further information, please call (520) 615-3001 or visit www.madaras.com
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Barbara Russek, a Tucson freelance writer, welcomes comments at Babette2@comcast.net