Joan Cortright - Vice Chair Co-Founder Joan Cortright has worked in art and ceramics in particular, for over 30 years. In 1996 she rented a studio at the Ceramic League of Miami and during her 15 years there she served on the Board of Directors, was employed as the school director, and taught many years of classes and summer camp. After moving to Vero Beach in 2012 she taught classes for several years at the Vero Beach Museum of Art and out of her own studio.
Linda Drake Resident Artist Linda is one of Indian River Clay’s first full-time members. She was born in Palm Beach, Florida and although life took her on various roads from Key West to Idaho, she is now a permanent Vero Beach resident. Having been both self-employed and a founder of non-profit endeavors, Linda is an astute business woman. Her Earth Dream Alliance saved a cloud forest in Ecuador from slash and burn deforestation. She found her way to clay after retirement and loves the challenges and the people that clay has brought to her life. Linda has worked at two previous studios (Boulder Mountain and Renegade Clay) and brings that experience to IRC. She is a life-long student and has probably participated in more clay classes than any other person. She clearly has a very strong vested interest in the success of IRC and tells us that “Indian River Clay is home to me".
Susan Scarola - Treasurer Co-Founder & Charter Member Susan grew up on Long Island in those idealistic 1950’s, one of six children. After brief stints as a kindergarten teacher, human resources professional and stay-at-home Mom, she obtained her MBA at NYU. Susan joined KPMG and earned her CPA, then joined DCH Auto Group, a small New York City family owned business. After 30 years, she retired as Vice Chairman of DCH which had grown to be one of the retail auto industry’s largest companies encompassing 40+ subsidiaries in multiple states. Susan’s work fueled her genetic passion to travel and you may have seen her wandering a food market or seeking pottery souvenirs. She does still think of herself as a New Yorker, and her only child, Jenna, lives in southern California, but her mother and other family are here, so Florida became home. Restless and wanting to find community here, Susan began to play in clay in 2016 with Ginny Piech Street as her first instructor. Further encouragement from her neighbor Katie Santomartino led her to classes with Maria Sparsis. She never dreamed that path would lead her to Indian River Clay but here she is, a novice encouraging the right side of her brain amongst new friends. Susan hopes that the welcoming atmosphere at Indian River Clay will open others to this joy.
Maria Sparsis - Board Chair Founder & Charter Member Indian River Clay Co-Founder, Board Chair and Resident Artist, Maria Sparsis was born on the island of Cyprus to a Cypriot father and a British mother, Maria has also lived and worked in Wales, Scotland, New England and, for the last 18 years, Florida. A Marine Biologist by training and a scientist by inclination, Maria has a deep commitment to nature in all its forms. She is part owner of Tea and Chi, a premium loose-leaf tea company in downtown Vero Beach, a resident artist and former owner at Flametree Gallery and serves as an adjunct biology professor at Indian River State College. Maria has studied ceramics with Sean Clinton, Nancy Blair, Glenda Taylor, Charlie Riggs, Deborah Adornato, Walford Campbell and Nan Jacobson. She provides many essentials to the IRC Board from engineering tasks to marketing to one of IRC’s most frequent instructors, Maria has made the success of IRC her first and foremost passion and this drive comes through in all she does.
Beverly Swatt - Secretary Charter Member As one of Indian River Clay’s first full-time members, Bev brings decades of clay and studio experience to IRC. She received an AA in Ceramics in 1972 and became active with the Ceramic League of Miami. From 1972 to 1982 she owned and operated Miami’s Grove North Gallery where she represented about 150 craftsmen. Beverly then applied her business skills to partner in Off Broadway Restaurant, a 250 plus seat deli and catering establishment (1983-1989). She’s a tireless volunteer and from 1980 to 2018 she volunteered for National Spinal Cord, Stand Among Friends, Childcare Resources and Haiti Clinic. Beverly currently serves on IRC’s Education Committee and led IRC to successfully raise over $6,000 for Samaritan Center’s 2019 Soup Bowl event.
Glenda Taylor After receiving her BFA in Ceramics at University of Florida, Glenda Taylor began her thirty year journey into clay. She is a fourth generation Floridian, and lives full time in Vero Beach. Glenda is a founding member of Tiger Lily Studio and Gallery and has been featured on the cover of the country’s most prestigious ceramics magazine, Ceramics Monthly. She has also received recognition in Southern Living Magazine. Glenda has exhibited in over thirty group shows, and her work is included in many distinguished collections, including the White House. She has taught ceramics at the Vero Beach Museum of Art and has been an active supporter of the pottery community. She is well known and a greatly respected member of our local community.