Redstone Gallery built for locals
The Redstone Gallery sits at Kimball Junction like an art island.
A myriad of shopping possibilities await shoppers at Redstone Center, but almost all of the area’s galleries are clustered in Park City.
"I had no interest in opening up a gallery on Main," said Bill Handler, owner of Redstone Gallery.
Handler, from Atlanta, has been coming to Park City regularly for the last 25 years to ski. During that time he bought three units at the Grand Summit Resort.
When he saw the Redstone Center opening up, he quickly jumped on the opportunity to start a gallery there. He thought the area would grow and it would be an ideal spot for a gallery as opposed to starting one on Main Street.
"The galleries on Main are centered for tourists," Handler said. "I wanted to have a gallery more focused on locals. We wanted this to be a destination gallery."
While being an art dealer is not his main source of income, it is his passion. For the last 17 years he has owned a successful gallery in Atlanta and always kept an eye open for a similar possibility in Park City. He thought he could duplicate what he developed in Atlanta.
"We were very excited about the potential of this place. This is where there would be substantial growth," Handler said.
It didn’t happen immediately however. Handler admitted that the first year was a struggle. But as he observed further development, more people came to his gallery.
"Now there’s a reason for people to come," Handler said. "The traffic at Redstone Center has quadrupled since it opened two years ago."
He is using the same philosophy in building the Redstone Gallery that proved successful as his gallery in Atlanta. His philosophy is focusing on the local community, while at the same time providing the finest art.
"Our clientele is 60 percent local and 40 percent tourists. On Main Street, their clientele is 90 percent tourists and 10 percent locals."
The location and the type of artwork he collects is the reason for the demographics he stated.
"Our gallery is created for the local community. It’s an eclectic collection of art that everyone will love," Handler said. "We’ve put a set of art together that is of interest to permanent or semi-permanent residents of Park City."
His art is a collection of nationally- and internationally-known artists along with six Utahns, including three Parkites. The artwork, he says, is the type that homeowners and residents will enjoy.
"One of the advantages of our gallery is we have three of the most promising artists in the country," Handler said.
He is displaying art that increases in value. His goal is to also "bring in local art that people can buy and in five years they will also become nationally prominent."
The most promising artists Michael Flohr, Hamilton Aguiar and Thomas Arvid. Flohr creates mixed media on print and Handler said "he is the most prominent impressionist in the country."
Aguiar is an up-and-coming artist from Brazil who uses a unique wood grain and gold leafing technique. When Handler first saw Aguiar’s art he said, "I loved his work and bought eight of his pieces, now he works directly with us instead of his publisher in New York."
Arvid, who Handler said "is the preeminent wine artist in the country," has been written up in USA TODAY and other national publications. Arvid is a self-taught artist from Georgia who creates realistic still-lifes.
"We handled him as his wholesale representative," Handler said. "We put him into 80 galleries."
Handler hopes he will be able to find more talent in Park City that will have similar results.
"When we find a talented artist, we try to make them successful," Handler said.
Park City artist Diane Whitehead may be one of them. Her colorful representations of animals are starting to get notice. Handler says she has the potential for national attention.
A San Diego gallery owner walked into the Redstone Gallery and "was blown away with Whitehead’s work." Now, through the Redstone Gallery her work will also be displayed in San Diego.
"I’m pleased to help emerging artists gain national promise," Handler said. "It’s a rewarding experience, an integral part of the business here."
Handler helps artists with the missing puzzle pieces so the artists can have a chance. So far, he has helped many artists reach a successful level they wouldn’t have reached without his help. He helped artist Mostafa Darehbaghi in Atlanta go from just a few galleries to showing his work in 20 galleries across the country and the world. That is part of Handler’s goal and where his satisfaction comes from.
"We provide the financial wherewithal. We help make it when they don’t have a chance to make it otherwise. We do what we can do to help make them successful," Handler said. "This is the focal point of my passion."
Handler’s galleries also aim to build relationships with clients. He wants to help "families and others build a worthy art collection."
Artists featured at the Redstone Gallery:
Internationally and nationally known:
Michael Flohr- California
Thomas Arvid- Georgia
Hamilton Aguiar- Brazil and New York
Mostafa Darehbaghi – Iran and Georgia
Diane Whitehead- Park City
Jack Karmel- Park City
Margaret Blake- Park City
Robert Parkison- Salt Lake City and Berlin
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$1 million in CARES Act funding has been set aside for Summit County nonprofits, and the Park City Community Foundation is working to organize the fund and how to choose recipients. The goal is to start accepting applications Oct. 14.