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Haines Gallery returns to Main

SKYLER BELL, Of the Record staff

He came, he left and now Rich Haines and his art gallery are back in the exact same spot on Main Street they walked away from three years ago.

Haines first came to Park City during his senior year at the University of Wyoming. As a 23-year-old student, he opened a gallery on Main Street and talked his professors into letting him finish his accounting major by correspondence, only returning to Laramie for finals.

"It was actually pretty difficult at first because when I moved to Utah I really didn’t know anybody," he said. "But most people were really supportive and treated me really well, but Park City wasn’t as mature of a community as it is now. At this point, where Park city is right now, it’d be a pretty difficult task. I don’t know if I could do it or not."

He originally came to Park City in 1998 because he wanted a place to showcase his own pieces, which are primarily bronze sculptures. He said he specializes in monumental sculptures of nature, which are "sculptures that are larger than life, mainly for personal residences."

"Originally I came here because I was looking to put my work in another gallery," he said. "I didn’t have anything in Park City and I wanted to be here for the Olympics. I have a lot of friends who are artists and they didn’t have a place to show either, so I thought it’d be a great place to open a gallery."

Haines, now 31, ran the original gallery until 2003, when he decided he needed a break to find himself and rekindle his passion for art.

"The art market was a little slow and it was hard to maintain the gallery," he said. "I sold my gallery in Jackson at the same time. I wanted to work on my own pieces and travel. I got to go to 22 different countries. It was probably the best thing I ever did. In general, traveling made me more street smart and just changed my life."

After being away from Park City for three years, he decided to come back. When he left he sub-leased the space to Whilshire Gallery, who opted not to re-up the contract a few months ago when it ran out.

"I just really had good luck in the space here and I really liked the location," he said. "I just needed to get out and see the world. My inspiration as an artist comes from my own life experiences and things that I’m interested in. Artists can only produce things that they know well."

During his travels, Haines went out of his way to meet as many artists as he can, especially those who, like him, specialize in landscape and wildlife art.

Most of the art in the gallery is his personal collection. As he met artists, he would buy their art and either take it with him or send it home.

"The thing I like about owning an art gallery is that I like to buy and collect art and its hard because you can’t buy everything you see, so it makes it nice that you can buy art and then resell it," he said. "As far as artists I carry, they’re from all around the region. Most of our artists are actually international," he said. "A lot are from Russia, Spain, and a handful are from Italy. Then we have a lot of artists from across the United States as well."

His collection includes many of his own pieces, including a life-size bronze of a bear cub, as well as many paintings by other artists.

"We have mostly traditional artwork with an emphasis in realism," he said. "I specialize in bronze sculptures, so if they want something I can find it because I know most of the sculptures around."

Every artist he carries is still alive, except for Vladamir Krantz, a Russian "master painter" who died in 2003. Everything in the gallery is for sale.

"I have several clients who come in and are very supportive," he said. "They come back in and buy pieces just like we never stopped doing business. I’ve also had some people come in and say, ‘Hey I thought you left! I thought you were taking a break. Can’t you make up your mind?’"

Rich Haines Gallery is located at 625 Main Street and can be reached at (435) 647-3881 or online at http://www.richhaines.com. The gallery is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.


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