NAPLES — To further its mission of being art smart, the United Arts Council is becoming an arts mart.
The Collier County arts organization is moving to a first-floor location in Mission Square West, and adding a combined information-ticket office service, to be called Arts-Mart, and display space for local art.
"The United Arts Council is celebrating our 30th anniversary this year, so the timing is perfect. Opening this facility has been one of our long-range goals and will enable us to better serve the community," said Elaine Hamilton, executive director, in a statement about the move.
"There are a number of people still don't like the idea of buying online, and there a good number of smaller arts organizations who aren't able to have a box office. This will be a service to both of them," she explained later.
She is hoping the wall and counter space that will be devoted to local art and artisan work will help ease local artists' need for display space. The council plans to keep its walls filled with Southwest Florida art for sale, including paintings, sculpture, pottery and jewelry.
The 1,300-square-foot quarters at 1495 Pine Ridge Road, Suite No. 5, isn't much larger than the current fourth-floor UAC quarters at 2335 U.S. 41 N., she said. But the new space is centrally located amid the city's population, is on the ground floor and has abundant free parking.
The group plans to offer tickets for the smaller arts organizations that have no box office. There is no annual fee to the organizations, beyond their current annual membership, because she sees this as a member service, Hamilton said. Whether they can offer credit card purchases -- which may require an additional fee to the organizations who want that service -- hasn't been determined.
Hamilton pointed out that there are at least 17 arts organizations with ticket office needs. Most of them must produce their concert or performance season selling tickets via members, phone, at the counters of friendly businesses or, for larger groups, via website.
However, there's no move-in date set yet for the new quarters, she said.
"It all depends on how smoothly our permitting goes."