It’s not every new art gallery, opening in the middle of a lockdown, that sells 16 paintings in the first month. Orillia’s Cloud Gallery has accomplished just that, though. Father-son duo Mark and Blake Fletcher have combined their respective skills and mutual love for art to create a hybrid online and physical art gallery.
Mark and Blake were talking about going into business together for a while. Mark, a self-described art addict who owns over 80 pieces of original art himself, has been a long-time supporter of the local arts community. For years, he has hosted a creative retreat for artists at their farm property just outside of Orillia and at the family cottage on Georgian Bay. He was also the Chair of the Orillia Museum of Art & History for four years.
Blake, a software developer and marketing consultant, approached Mark with the idea of opening an art gallery. “Our passion for art and business and our complementary skill sets made it a perfect fit.” Mark agreed right away.
Cloud Gallery represents established artists from all over the province. “Ontario is truly amazing in so many ways. Our overall focus is to celebrate the natural beauty of Ontario with our pieces,” Mark says.
“Our roster of almost 30 artists is a dream team. We’ve been very selective in who we’ve connected with and most of our artists are represented by other galleries as well.”
COVID-19 seems to have deeply affected consumer buying choices these days, with a shift toward beautifying the home and cottage. “Where in the past, people might have spent their money on travel, they are now looking to buy art,” Blake says. “Art just does this incredible job of lighting up any room and can change the mood and experience of being inside.”
While most of Cloud Gallery’s art sales have been due to their virtual gallery tours, Cloud also has a physical space in a newly renovated heritage building across from the Orillia Opera House. “We have three different gallery areas,” Mark says. “We have the main gallery and a separate, smaller gallery space on the first floor. We also have a huge area upstairs with an exposed brick wall and people just seem to go crazy over that.”
Cloud Gallery is a must-see destination for art lovers. Visit them in their gallery or on their website to experience great art in a beautiful setting.
TEXT KARI KLASSEN | PHOTOS ANDREW FEARMAN