Toms River Regional Schools Hall of Fame

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Diana Levine Madaras

Diana Madaras graduated from Toms River High School South in 1972, from Douglass College of Rutgers University in 1976, and earned her Master of Science degree from the University of Arizona in 1977. Like so many other Toms River graduates who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, Diana is being honored for multiple talents and achievements. She is a distinguished artist, has been extremely successful in the field of marketing, and has a noted record as a philanthropist and activist in charitable work.

Just after earning her two degrees, Diana opened a sports marketing company in Tucson, Arizona. With a staff of fourteen, she promoted major sporting events, including LPGA and PGA golf tournaments. Because of her hectic business schedule, Diana had little time to pursue her passion for art, until a professor at the University of Arizona noticed her talent and convinced her to study abroad. During a month long painting trip to Greece in 1993, Diana made the decision to sell her marketing company of twelve years, open a gallery, and devote her career to painting.

Eleven years later, Diana Madaras is a widely recognized painter and one of the few artists in the country who owns her own gallery. Madaras Gallery features Diana's work exclusively, and to date, more than 7,000 people have made purchases.

A signature member of the Southern Arizona Watercolor Guild, Diana is represented by galleries in the United States and in the Bahamas. She has been featured in nine one-woman shows and her art has hung in the Tucson Museum of Art. Her painting, "The Blues at Old Main," was commissioned for the cover of the University of Arizona Alumni magazine that is mailed to 150,000 UA graduates. This was only the second time in 15 years an artist's work has been featured on the cover.

Recently, Diana completed commissions for Westin, Loews, and Miraval resorts. She has also created eight paintings for the estate of the former president of Mexico. Every year she does an annual show at Madaras Gallery.

Diana's unique style makes her work easily recognizable. She celebrates the subtle, natural beauty of ordinary scenes in a way that is both intense and dramatic. Her primary medium is watercolor, but occasionally she paints in acrylic and in oil. She is known as a colorist using bold interpretations of color and a technique that ranges from dry-brushed architecture to expressionistic wet-in-wet landscapes.

Diana is very active in community sewice and her art work has benefited more than 100 charities. As a Board member of the Boys and Girls Club, she donates $20,000 worth of paintings and art gifts to their annual auction. Her annual art calendar benefits the Arthritis Foundation, and in 1999 the Foundation named her "Philanthropist of the Year". In 2000, the Rotary Club of Tucson honored her with their Four-Way Award, the highest honor given to a non-Rotarian for community seyice. In 1999, Diana established her own Foundation, "Art for Animals," to generate funds from art related events to aid animals that are injured, ill, or abused. To date the Foundation has raised more than $40,000. Diana has said, "I feel so fortunate to be able to help others by sharing the paintings I love to create." A total of 26 articles have been written about her and her work. She has been featured on television shows produced by NBC, CBS, and PBS.

Diana grew up in a home where charitable giving was a way of life. Her father was a veterinarian who saw to it that no sick or wild animal was turned away. Of note, her brother, Richard, is now a veterinarian. Her sister, Sandra, produces television shows that promote the welfare of animals.

For the past four years, Diana has created an original watercolor for the American Cancer Society's Spring Soiree fundraiser. The watercolor image is used on the invitation, on the save-the-date card, and on the dinner program. At the event the original is auctioned off. These four paintings have raised approximately $25,000. Diana was honored as Woman of the Year by New Beginnings for Women in 2003. In January 2005, she was voted Tucson's "Best Visual Artist of 2004" and was featured on several television shows. Additionally, Diana is a distinguished rider of show horses and a fine poet.

The Toms River Schools can be both proud and pleased that a graduate of our system has so distinguished herself. And her parents, too, must share in that pride and pleasure for the ways in which their three children have'succeeded in this world.

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