"Art for Animals" is a non-profit foundation established by Diana Madaras in 1999 to help animals that are injured or ill, hungry, homeless or abused. Funds are donated to a broad-based spectrum of animal causes.
The Foundation's goal is to garner a base of support for animal causes through event-oriented promotions involving galleries and artists in Arizona. The Foundation was initially funded when Diana donated 50% of the proceeds from the Madaras Gallery Grand Opening to "Art for Animals" in July, 1999.
To date, the Foundation has supported more than twelve different animal programs including those that help prevent animal abuse and those that rescue and foster unwanted animals including dogs, cats, horses and pot-bellied pigs. The Foundation also supports wildlife rehabilitation.
Madaras and her family have been supportive of animal causes for many years. Her father and brother are veterinarians in New Jersey and she grew up in an apartment attached to the veterinary hospital. Her sister currently hosts a weekly television show on New Jersey Network entitled "Homeless Tails" which promotes the adoption of abandoned pets.
"Establishing the Foundation brings together two great loves of my life," Madaras stated, "art and animals. It is a joy for me to be able to make a difference by donating my own paintings to raise money for the Foundation, as well as encouraging others in the art world to support animal causes."
Animals to be Big Winners of Artist's African Sojourn (May 2008)
The African animals portrayed in an art show opening May 18th at Madaras Gallery in Tucson, Arizona will be among the beneficiaries of the event: artist Diana Madaras plans to donate all proceeds from the sale of her original African Sojourn paintings to groups that help animals both in Africa and locally. The show is expected to generate tens of thousands of dollars in donations.
The philanthropic show is the result of a chance meeting between Madaras and Terry von Guillome, owner of tour company Destination Southern Africa. "I was being honored by Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT) for my charity work," said Madaras. "I heard Terry had donated a safari to be auctioned at the gala. We spoke and when he learned I had an animal foundation called Art for Animals, he knew we could do some good things together." Guillome offered to give Madaras a free safari, and Madaras agreed to donate the proceeds from the paintings that resulted from the trip. "I'm taking an opportunity to 'pay it forward' by donating to several charities that are working to preserve the magnificent wild creatures of Africa," said Madaras. Two local organizations --Tucson's Reid Park Zoo and TROT's equine therapy program--also will benefit.
Going on safari had been a lifelong dream of Madaras, and the three-week photography trip through South Africa and Botswana exceeded her expectations. "It was an amazing experience to see the animals in the wild, to be so close to them and to observe their behavior," Madaras said. "It was a privilege. I was overwhelmed by their magnificence."
The resulting colorful, dramatic paintings reflect the beauty and wildness Madaras encountered on her adventure. "Painting these African animals has been euphoric," Madaras said. "The paintings are inspired. When I painted the lion, for some reason I knew his mane was going to have pink in it. From there the painting flowed freely and easily, as if it came from somewhere outside of me."
Elephants, cheetahs, baboons, rhinos and leopards are among the animals Madaras saw up close on safari—animals Madaras is concerned about saving. "If we don't pay attention, there won't be any wild animals in Africa," Madaras said, "and what a catastrophic loss that would be to this planet."
Both acrylic and watercolor paintings will be featured in the month-long show, which will kick off with a private reception on May 18th for gallery patrons, supporters of TROT and Reid Park Zoo, as well as guests of Destination Southern Africa.
Philanthropy is nothing new to Madaras, who owns two galleries in Tucson that feature her work exclusively. Since opening her first gallery in 1999 Madaras has donated about $50,000 worth of art each year to various charities; more than 100 groups all together—including the Boys and Girls Club of Tucson, the American Cancer Society and the Arthritis Foundation. Madaras' deep love for animals began in early childhood, and is part of a long-standing family tradition. Her father Dr. Bernard Levine is a noted veterinarian, and Madaras grew up working in the family's veterinary hospital, helping both wild and domestic animals. Today her brother is a veterinarian and medical director of the hospital, and her sister hosts and produces a television program for New Jersey's PBS station on animal welfare. In 1999 Madaras founded Art for Animals, a nonprofit foundation which is funded by proceeds from the sale of her artwork. To date the foundation has donated more than $76,000 to 12 groups working to help endangered, abandoned, abused and neglected animals.
Among the projects funded by Madaras' Art for Animals Foundation:
Madaras is a signature member of the Southern Arizona Watercolor Guild. She has been featured in nine one-woman shows and her art has hung in the Tucson Museum of Art. Included among her commissioned work are paintings for Westin, Loews and Miraval resorts, as well as for the estate of the former president of Mexico.
Madaras has been honored with numerous awards for her community service, and she has been featured in dozens of print and television stories.
You can email Diana Madaras at firstname.lastname@example.org.