Champion of the Month

Dawn Darga Share

May 3, 2018  |  Layla Price-Bodkin

Life­long Mar­i­on res­i­dent, Dawn Dar­ga, was born in 1966. Her par­ents took over the pop­u­lar Bob Rogers” gift shop for about 20 years, and she got to know the com­mu­ni­ty while help­ing run the store. She grad­u­at­ed from Mar­i­on High School, and earned a Bach­e­lor of Arts degree from Indi­ana Wes­leyan Uni­ver­si­ty in 1989 with a dou­ble-major in Art Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Art Edu­ca­tion K-12, and minor in Art His­to­ry. After col­lege she worked for a cou­ple mar­ket­ing firms in Fort Wayne, but soon became focused on being close to fam­i­ly and com­mu­ni­ty. Dawn lost her moth­er at a young age.

After mar­ry­ing her hus­band, Doug Dar­ga, in 1990, she pur­sued a career in mar­ket­ing work­ing for a local pho­tog­ra­ph­er, and aimed to give back to the com­mu­ni­ty, focus­ing on the arts. She joined the Com­mu­ni­ty School of the Arts’ board in the school’s infant stages and mar­ket­ed for them for about 14 years. 

Dawn lat­er start­ed her own hands-on design & mar­ket­ing busi­ness, Designs Group, and became a down­town stake­hold­er. While oper­at­ing her busi­ness, she gave back to the com­mu­ni­ty by giv­ing of her mar­ket­ing skills when­ev­er pos­si­ble. Over the years, she has cre­at­ed brand­ing for attrac­tions includ­ing the Splash House, Friend­ship Cor­ner, The Gar­den House, the Mead­ow, and much more, as a ser­vice to the community. 

Dawn and sev­en oth­er indi­vid­u­als show­ing pas­sion for the Gar­dens of Mat­ter Park start­ed Friends of the Gar­dens,” a char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tion which devel­oped endow­ment and pass-through funds to go toward the Gar­dens. To this day, she still serves with FOG” whose main goal is to sus­tain the Gar­dens through fundrais­ing as well as pro­vide fam­i­ly-friend­ly events to the com­mu­ni­ty. They put on many arts & enter­tain­ment events through­out the year, pro­vide an edu­ca­tion­al series, and hold fundraisers.

Dawn has also served on the Run for Free­dom board (5 years), Mar­i­on Aquat­ic Club (5 years), and pro­vid­ed MCS’s Ash­er­woods with pro bono mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tions (9 years).

Dawn con­tin­ues to cham­pi­on to pro­mote the arts in Mar­i­on. We have it all right here…we just have to believe in it. I’m still inspired by the Gar­dens and encour­aged by vis­i­tors’ com­pli­ments. Things are also start­ing to change down­town, and we’re get­ting on the right page. I believe this is where our home is, so we should put all of our ener­gy here.”