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Transformation and transitions, it is something we experience numerous times as we journey through life. It is a topic that seems to be resonating within our Success in the City community of entrepreneurs and business leaders.We suspect that much of this sense of possible dissatisfaction or desire or urgency to identify what it is that is leaving us less than satisfied may be reflective of an economy striving to recover following a recessionary period. It has been a demanding time and many of us are finding that managing our life and business in this less than prosperous environment is not as rewarding when weighing the cares and concerns of business stability.Even if it is not a financial concern, sometimes we simply feel that we called to be or do something else.

This month Success in the City will be hosting a panel discussion on Transformation and Transitions. If you are pondering just what the next thing may be for you and how you go about it you just might want to join us.

It is our pleasure to introduce you to Dr. Tara Coles, an Emergency Medicine Physician who is doing just that, discovering that the next transition will be for her. Dr. Coles will be joining us on the panel and we believe you may enjoy where her passions are intersecting with entrepreneurship.

Dr. Tara Coles is the Founder and CEO of ArtNest.com, an online marketplace and platform dedicated to supporting artists and art and culture in local economies. She also is practicing board certified Emergency Medicine Physician and is busy raising four children. She is an entrepreneur at heart, a graduate of ACTiVATE sponsored by Path Forward Center for entrepreneurship, and a graduate of the DC Founder Institute. She is interested in geriatric medicine, palliative care, preventive medicine, public health, the intersection of art and technology, art education, and art advocacy. She is an avid reader, lifelong learner, and connector who values kindness, compassion, and community above all. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Haverford College, an MD from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and completed her residency in Emergency Medicine at Boston Medical Center where she was Chief Resident.

Tara Coles’ transformational dream and passion is to launch ArtNest, where her endeavor is utilizing technology to change the way people collect and support the arts. ArtNest is developing a web-based platform that allows small businesses and mid-tier consumers to engage with the art market in a unique and personalized way.

As an art lover and collector herself, Tara recognized how intimidating and overwhelming the traditional art world could be. Most people feel that original art is out of their reach, out of their budget and suited to those with champagne tastes. But there is a movement afoot where towns, cities and businesses are using the arts to build community, inspire employees, stimulate innovation, and foster creative collaboration.

42 billion dollars is spent in the US per year on wall décor and much of that is spent on high-end fine art or low-end reproductions. ArtNest intends to engage the largely ignored middle market by offering original art at affordable prices and inviting a whole new segment of the buying public into joining the fascinating art world through art collection.

Collecting art should not be available only to the well-connected or the well-financed who receive personalized service and attention. The middle market art collector is also entitled to matchmaking services and ArtNest can provide virtual curation – art that is matched to taste, style and collecting objectives.

Unlike open shopping platforms like EBay and Etsy, ArtNest curates high-potential emerging artists and partners with select galleries to expand their online presence. ArtNest will offer buyers tiered levels of service based upon the level of recommendation and support that they desire. Online Auctions, art fairs, commissions and exhibitions recreate the art market virtually.

The ArtNest customer acquisition strategy includes cultivating affiliate relationships with interior designers and developing magazine quality content and editorial commentary.The growth and sustainability strategy focuses on promoting local art economies – Local virtual marketplaces which will serve as the online source of local emerging artists, galleries, art-non-profits, and art events all aggregated in one virtual space.

ArtNest’s business model includes a shared commission model with artists and galleries. In addition, subscription memberships offer consumers access to limited edition products and events. Lastly, affiliate relationships with art-related vendors and promotion of art events will provide additional revenue streams.

ArtNest is supported by a team of high-level art advisers, gallerists, and e-commerce entrepreneurs. Watch for ArtNest’s beta launch which is scheduled for August 1st. The ArtNest hard launch is being coordinated with DC FOTO week and the Emerge Art Fair in Fall 2012. ArtNest is currently seeking seed stage investment to advance back-end development and marketing efforts.

Art makes people proud to live, work and play where they do. Investment in the arts supports jobs, encourages tourism, supports well being, and advances our creativity-based economy.A vibrant arts culture ensures that young people are not left to be raised solely in a pop culture and tabloid marketplace.ArtNest is creating a forum for connection, by bringing art to more members of the community, where we hope to share the beauty, healing, creativity, vitality, inspiration that art brings to life.