The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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Former Mustangs Makin’ It Big: Amanda Dunbar

Former Mustangs Makin It Big: Amanda Dunbar

Amanda Dunbar hopes to change children’s lives with her gift.

On the list of 2009 Distinguished Alumni, she was recently named the recipient of the Emerging Leader Award and will be honored Nov. 5.

Born in Canada, Dunbar moved to Dallas with her family at age 12. The next year, she took an after-school class and painted her first piece – an impressionism piece – of a mother and daughter. Her teacher recognized her talent and called her parents in for a meeting.

At 16, her first solo exhibition at the Florence Art Gallery in Dallas sold more than $500,000.

Dunbar graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in art history, cum laude with honors and distinction from the Meadows School of the Arts. According to her Web site, www.amandadunbar.com, she has completed a Masters in Arts at Meadows except for the accompanying thesis.

Combining her love of art and children, Dunbar founded a non-profit organization to focus on children’s needs. So far she has contributed more than $1 million to funding programs for children. Her dedication to children also led her to become an ambassador for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

In the manifesto section of her Web site, Dunbar writes, “For me, the process of painting in oil, my instinctively chosen medium, allows me a sensual catharsis among liaisons with color, smell and touch.”

Dunbar has received a lot of praise and national media coverage because of her efforts.

In 2006, she became the first painter and the youngest woman to be inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, joining such luminaries as Laura Bush and Barbara Jordan.

She was named “Person of the Week” on ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson in 2007. During the interview, Dunbar said, “Painting to me is like breathing to other people.”

During her second appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dunbar presented Winfrey with a $100,000 check for The Angel Network. She also brought Winfrey to tears as she presented the talk-show host with a painting of her from the movie “Beloved.”

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