Jessica and Bradley Larned opened Waterscapes Gallery in downtown Melbourne about six months ago. It was a natural progression.
“We are water people,” said Jessica, who grew up in Cudjoe Key, or as the locals call it, “Mile Marker 23.” Bradley grew up there, too, and the two knew each other peripherally, but did not realize their romantic relationship until long after graduation.
Bradley traveled from the storied and idyllic surroundings of his hometown north each year to Brevard to attend Florida Air Academy and often spent time in the summers here, surfing, fishing and hanging out on the beach with his brothers. What was once his second home became their first when he and Jessica decided to marry and make a life together more than 10 years ago.
Now, in the suite right next door to the gallery, she runs a creative services company for small businesses called Digital Ink, and he works offsite as a stone mason/water and landscape designer for clients all over town. Together, they manage Waterscapes Gallery to help showcase the environments, landscapes, creatures and colors of life atop and below the water.
The gallery is filled with arts of all sizes and forms, from sculptures to oils to watercolors and more, watery reflections of various perspectives from featured artists – many of them local.
The couple curates their collection using social media; accepting online submissions for art, which must be water themed, and charge a nominal hanging fee, plus a percentage of the final price. Exhibition themes are planned for the coming year and specific guidelines are available on the website www.waterscapes.gallery
“We’d love to get some more edgy art, more pop, more abstract art” said Jessica, whose own paintings hang on the walls.
Jessica also sits on the downtown Melbourne Main Street Board and is instrumental in helping draw attention to the terrific businesses and entertainment venues that make up the area. Each quarter, for example, the Downtown Melbourne Art & Wine Walk takes participants through a unique art and wine walk in downtown, featuring artistic demonstrations and wine tastings – and the party starts and ends at the gallery. A raffle is held at the end of the day and requires passport stamps from the participating shops and galleries, which also provide the prizes.