Marketing art and making art both deserve full-time attention. When the artists at Vero Beach’s Flametree Clay Art Gallery reached that conclusion in September, they started looking for a new owner — someone who could devote all their energies to growing the audience for the gallery and their art. And they found a local couple eager to take on the venture: Leah and Bruce Cady recently purchased Flametree from local clay artists and gallery founders Maria Sparsis, Karen Ekonomou and Trudy von Linsowe. Even though the Cadys have never owned a gallery before, they have experience in business and marketing — and a passion for Vero Beach and its burgeoning art scene.
The Cadys have lived in Vero Beach for more than 10 years. They met here and have been married for seven years.
Bruce Cady will act as Flametree’s marketing director. He plans on taking a digital approach to promoting the gallery: reinventing the website and highlighting the Facebook page. A veteran of the Marines, Bruce said, “I’ve had success using these avenues to promote a couple different events for the Veterans Council and I’m excited to use the formula to promote the gallery.” He was in charge of publicizing two recent veterans events: Hump for our Vets in February and Zero Dark Thirty in May. Both were successful and marketed solely online.
Bruce, originally from California, came here for work, and fell in love with the town and lifestyle. His career has crossed several industries, including telecommunications and aerospace. Most recently he started a company that uses aerial drones to perform a variety of business applications.
Leah, originally from Michigan, found Vero Beach when visiting friends and fell in love with the small-town charm, which reminded her of where she grew up. Having spent her career in business office administration, she most recently served as the corporate office manager for a large elder care service provider.
“I’ve always loved art. I remember during vacations as a kid, my mom, sisters, aunts and I would always find time to shop the local art stores and come home with unique and interesting art that continues to fill our homes to this day,” Leah Cady said. “My Nativity scene was passed down to me by my mother — it’s clay art from our trip to Sedona in the early 1990s. They all carry wonderful memories.”
The gallery’s previous owners aren’t going anywhere. All three founders plan to remain as resident artists.“Bruce and Leah will bring fresh energy and new ideas to inspire both our artists and customers,” said Flametree co-founder Maria Sparsis, owner of the Tea and Chi café. “Nearly all of the existing artists will continue to exhibit at the Flametree Clay Art Gallery.”There are 14 artists who show their work Flametree on a permanent basis.
Each month, one room of the gallery displays works by a variety of artists inspired by a common theme. For instance, “Meet the Locals,” featured clay art by Vero Beach artists, including the poet and Vero Beach native, Sean Sexton. According to Bruce Cady, Flametree is the only gallery on the Treasure Coast dedicated to clay art. The Cadys have already talked about expanding into other ventures such as selling clay, bisque (a partially hardened, pre-formed clay), glaze (the coating that makes pottery shiny), and other products related to the field.Flametree Clay Art Gallery is located at 2041 14th Ave, Vero Beach.
You can learn more by visiting www.flametreegallery.com or their Facebook page, facebook.com/FlametreeClayArt or by calling 772-202-2810.
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