Grad Profile: @ArtNestInc builds an online community for art creators and aficionados

Posted by Emma Tzeng on 2012-07-27

Grad Profiles highlight the personal and professional stories of Founder Institute Graduates from across the globe. 

This profile on ArtNest, a Graduate of the Washington D.C. Founder Institute, was written by Emma Tzeng. Co-founded in January 2012 by Tara Coles and Karina Bania, ArtNest functions as an e-commerce platform for artists and art lovers alike.


It is universally understood that art is timeless. Trends fade faster than tulips in the springtime, tastes and inclinations evolve over time, and life circumstances can change at the drop of a hat; and yet, art outlasts them all. However, just because art transcends time and context, it doesn’t mean that it should remain in the past. The need for creative expression and discovery still resonates as loudly as it did yesterday, and startup ArtNest understands this.

By connecting artists with people and businesses through its online platform, ArtNest empowers users to curate their own art collections and interact with emerging artists around the world while also providing an outlet for up-and-coming artists to sell their pieces.

Founded in January 2012 by Tara Coles, a practicing ER physician, and Karina Bania, a professional artist, ArtNest spawned from a shared desire to make art more accessible and relevant to today’s Internet-centric culture. In their words, they hope to “reinvent and reinvigorate the art world.”

“As a practicing ER physician, I have seen so much suffering and pain,” Coles relates in an interview. “I wanted to build something that celebrated beauty, creativity, and innovation.”

In a similar vein, Bania brings her artistic talent and vision, curatorial instincts, and inspirational writing to the partnership. After graduating from separate bi-coastal Founder Institutes, Coles and Bania realized that by combining their entrepreneurial spirits and talents, the pair could create a truly unique company with high growth potential.

By gathering like-minded art aficionados and artists, the two co-founders want to foster a community that utilizes technology to spread art to everyday individuals across the globe.

Unlike e-commerce platforms such as Etsy and eBay, ArtNest is selective about its product offering: it only features artwork from high-potential emerging artists and even partners with select art galleries to promote their online presence. ArtNest also brings art online by hosting online auctions, art fairs, and exhibitions. In a nutshell, the startup’s mission is to transform the art purchasing experience. 

ArtNest caters to design professionals who want assistance in sourcing art for corporate and residential clients. Users can choose from tiered subscription services depending on the level of recommendations and service they wish to receive. In the future, ArtNest plans to establish affiliate relationships with photographers, designers, and art-related vendors. 

The startup is currently still in final stages of pre-launch development, as Coles and Bania continue to devote themselves to ArtNest’s core vision of spreading affordable, quality art and design to the masses.


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