OREM — Local arts aficionado Peter Sessions believes in the arts and in information.

That's why he's starting up a new organization this January — the Utah Valley Arts Association — that will serve as a gathering/clearing house for audition dates, show schedules, and any other kind of pertinent arts information local people need to have.

"We want the valley to know this organization exists," Sessions said. "There's strength in numbers. That's why our motto is 'Together we can.'"

Sessions already has some major members in his ranks, including the Brigham Young University Fine Arts department, the Utah Valley University School of Arts department and the SCERA organization.

He has media partners and individual artists, including painter Greg Olsen and stained glass artist Tom Holdman. The arts councils in American Fork, Highland, Lehi, and Spanish Fork have all indicated interest in being part of the association.

In January 2012, Sessions said the association will begin distributing a monthly newsletter that will update subscribers on the latest shows, talent opportunities and offerings. The mailer will go to all Utah County homes and appear in area newsstands.

In addition, the association will maintain a website: www.artsuv.org.

"Our effort is a three-pronged effort on education, publicity and networking," Sessions said.

The association will provide workshops and classes held at the various member facilities the second Thursday of each month.

He plans to keep the association's overhead at the bare minimum so he can focus on simply getting good information out.

"We're official. We have non-profit status. We want to become the source of information for the valley. Right now, you have to go to multiple sources for information," he said.

"I firmly believe the arts improve the quality of life and we need to help each other. I have told people that we referred to artists as starving long before the economy tanked, but I think a supportive arts association can help local organizations increase customer loyalty, increase tickets sales and thrive," he added.

Those interested in joining (annual membership fee is $120) or learning more about the association may contact Sessions at 801-369-5680 or at peter@artsuv.org.

In addition to members, the association welcomes donations.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.. Email: haddoc@desnews.com