It was 8 o’clock on the Sunday night after Christmas, 2015, when the phone rang at Carol Hedges’ house. The news was bad. Her iconic business, Carol’s Interiors and Flooring, was being consumed by fire.
She and her husband raced to the Homosassa location, at 6410 S. Suncoast Blvd.
“We couldn’t do anything but stand by and watch it burn,” said Carol.
The cause of the inferno remains unknown.
Thanks to their insurance settlement, and the expeditious rebuilding by Sweetwater Homes, which only took 18 weeks, they are back in business, selling flooring, carpeting, window treatments and interior design. While designer Rhonda Kennedy is busy keeping that aspect of the business running, Carol is pursuing her passion to open an art gallery and studio in the other half of the building.
According to resident artist and teacher, Candy Muccioli, “The vision for the Gallery of the Arts is where local artists can display, sell and teach.”
Gayle Northington, also known as Gigi, the marketing mind behind this venture and a sea glass artist, said “The gallery will focus on high-end fine art with affordable prices.”
There are currently 20 artists affiliated with the gallery including Kathy Stingle, oils on wood; Gil Watson, sculptor and painter; Sean Mullins, a Bob Ross-certified oil painting instructor; Jennifer Hicks, acid washed metal art; and fine artist, Valerie Vogel, who is well-known for her beautifully painted Christmas themed windows throughout Citrus County.
This pet friendly artist’s retreat “has doubled in size in just the past month,” said Muccioli.
The official greeter is Billy, who is Carol’s Austrian shepherd dog. Two cozy cats round out the animals in residence.
The entire space will be completed by mid-August. The existing gallery space will be expanded, and a workshop and lesson area are being added.
“It will be a fun place to hang out and interact with other artists,” said Northington.
Supplies will be provided if needed.
This dream of Carol’s, finally coming to fruition, is the silver lining after the devastating fire which threatened to end her career.