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New online marketplace features local artists

Painter Robin Cornwell is doing all the right things to promote herself as an artist. She has a website and a blog; she’s a member of the Park City Professional Artists Association, Park City Summit County Arts Council and Kimball Art Center; and she sells her work at local markets and special events.

Still, finding outlets and prospective buyers for her artwork remains a challenge. "I’m trying to do as many events as I can and promote myself as best I can, but it’s very competitive," she says. "It’s one of those things you have to get your name in as many places as you can and participate in as many activities as you can to get people to recognize the work that you do."

Michelle Nowels, a local photographer who works at Peak Art & Frame, is in the same boat. She and store owner Bethany Jones, also a photographer, sell their photos at their Kimball Junction location, but they haven’t had a way to retail their work in a larger market.

Until now, that is.

Nowels and Jones have created Utah Art Circle, an online art community and marketplace designed to support local artists and provide an opportunity for customers to purchase original artwork and prints at affordable prices.

The website, http://www.utahartcircle.com , was launched about a month and a half ago. It features Utah artists, including Cornwell, who work in different media, from drawing and painting to photography and printmaking. Originals and prints are available in different sizes and formats to fit any budget.

The range in pricing is an important aspect of the project, Nowels says. Not everyone has money to purchase expensive original art, but most people can afford a print of a photo or painting that they love.

All of the prints ordered from the site will be printed locally at Peak Art & Frame at Kimball Junction. They can be shipped to the client or picked up at the store.

Utah Art Circle’s main site is where customers can view and purchase artwork. Shopping categories include Park City, ski resorts and national parks, posters and prints, nature and landscape, art consignment and macro images.

There is also a blog component to the project, which is where new artists will be featured every couple of months. The goal is to mix it up and find artists working in different media and with varying subjects.

"We want a variety of things and we want every artist to be different so we’re not selling similar images," Nowels says.

The collection definitely has local scenes and themes, but there are more abstract pieces as well, Nowels says. "We’re looking for things that will be appealing to our clients and customers and the designers in the area."

Featured artists must be invited to join the circle or be chosen through a selection process. Interested artists may submit their work to michelle@utahartcircle.com .

Peak Art & Frame will soon offer a framing service with purchases made online. The store has the capability to create digital images of what artwork looks like in different frames and email options to customers. "If they want, they don’t even have to come into the shop," Nowels says.

The store also carries original artwork by the artists featured on the website and has a seven-day turnaround for all printing services.

Cornwell, who paints mostly Utah-centric impressionist landscapes, doesn’t sell her original artwork or prints on her own website. She thinks that distributing her paintings through Utah Art Circle will be a good way to meet fellow art lovers and prospective buyers.

"For an artist who’s trying to market their art, this is a great place to start," she says. "Park City is a very creative town and any place you can be seen and get your work out there is important. I’ve found it to be a very positive experience so far."

Find Utah Art Circle online at http://www.utahartcircle.com and http://utahartcircle.blogspot.com.


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