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VOL. 128 | NO. 153 | Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Front Porch Art Connects Artists With Public

By Andy Meek

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When Caitlin Horton and her husband, Kennedy, first moved to Memphis, it was in Midtown where they chose to make their home.

Caitlin Horton and her husband, Kennedy, have launched Front Porch Art, a Web-based venture that wants to take the business and marketing headache away from artists and give them a place to display and sell their work.

(Meagan Jackson)

And the residence where they put down roots had a feature they got to enjoy for the first time as homeowners – a front porch.

That section of the home tends to be regarded as a nostalgic slice of Southern iconography – the place for swapping stories among friends and leaving the blue screens to blink someplace else. Indeed, the porch is important enough a symbol that the husband-and-wife team incorporated it into the new business they’ve launched to support the needs of artists.

Front Porch Art is their Web-based venture that wants to take the business and marketing headache away from someone who just wants to paint, for example, while at the same time helping dust off a kind of digital easel for the display of that artist’s work. The symbol evoked by the business’ name is additionally reflected in the image of a rocking chair displayed next to the logo on the business’ website.

“We call ourselves a laid-back art market,” said Caitlin Horton, the creative director for the business, which supports local artists and offers artwork for sale. “We’re designed for giving artists an online presence and helping them reach a broader audience without the hassle that maintaining something like an Etsy store would mean for them. Because they still have to market and promote heavily to make that worthwhile.

“We also provide a way for people who enjoy maybe an occasional night out at an art gallery for an event but who’d rather kick back at home to enjoy art, learn stories behind it, check it out and shop at home. We’re trying to connect people and provide a fuller experience 24-7, wherever you are.”

The front porch got built as a result of the light bulb moment Horton says came about while she was working with a local folk artist. She helped him craft a bio card that could be distributed at events or mailed out.

“I did that for him because I did graphic design as well, and in doing that I learned he’d been painting for several years and had never done a piece like that that told any of his customers or potential customers about himself,” she said. “We talked about all those things artists find it a hassle to do. They like connecting with people who love their art, but the market and business side sometimes takes away from their creative work. I can’t paint, but I do enjoy the business side of what they don’t like to do. So we sort of hatched Front Porch Art with him.”

“We’re designed for giving artists an online presence and helping them reach a broader audience.”

–Caitlin Horton

The business’ website, www.frontporchart.com, already has a collection of artists whose work can be browsed and purchased. Prices range from below $50 to $100 or more.

Recently, the business unveiled its Art for Squares line. A handful of artists created one-size, one-price artwork exclusively available through Front Porch Art, which Horton said is an easy way for someone to dip their toes into the art-buying world, with the added benefit that it’s budget-friendly.

“Every time we go on vacation or take a trip together since we’ve been married, we buy a piece of art as a souvenir,” Horton said. “We see art as a way to remind you of a special place and time or a memory – just something that speaks to you personally and reminds you of a story in some way.”

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