Diana Madaras was sitting at her computer one fall when she heard a voice say, “Open a Christmas shop.”
She initially blew it off.
“And then it was louder,” she says. “It said, ‘Open a Christmas shop.’”
After realizing the only Christmas shop in the area closed, she decided to fill the void at her Tucson gallery seven years ago. For the last seven years, Madaras has dedicated her space to the holiday in August.
For the one-month show, she transforms the front portion of her gallery into a winter wonderland with items and paintings produced by her and guest artists.
“We have 25 different holiday cards, and we’ll also do different ornaments and prints and coasters and mini canvases,” Madaras says. “We probably have 1,000 ornaments at the holidays, plus really unique décor.”
The nine-time Best Artist in Tucson winner will showcase new holiday images that include a Christmas church, a saguaro in the desert with a coyote in a Christmas hat, and a brightly colored desert scene with stars.
“I can’t say I can pick a favorite, but we do have four new holiday card images in addition to some of our standard favorites,” Madaras says.
Through her award-winning gallery, Madaras donates to charities, including her nonprofit Art for Animals, which has received more than $200,000.
“I have this animal foundation called Art for Animals,” Madaras says. “We help homeless, abused and injured animals. We have done that since the start of the gallery.”
During the pandemic, Madaras Gallery is allowing in-person viewing with a maximum of 10 people in the gallery at a time. Private appointments are available. She is unable to host the “wonderful parties and events” that occur throughout the year due to social distancing. She’s continuing to make the gallery accessible to people who want to see or purchase from it.
Customers can purchase online or have curbside pickup. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been too bad for Madaras.
“On the flip side, it has given me more time to paint, which I have enjoyed,” Madaras says. “I’m getting ready for my October show.
“I’m very pleased to say that we have a lot of support online. We did a series of 1-minute videos of me and our other guest artist that people really liked.”
Madaras Gallery, 3035 N. Swan Road, Tucson, 520.615.3001, madaras.com.