Michele Manasse had dreamed of one day owning a gallery. In 1985, when the original Fireworks Gallery in Pioneer Square, Seattle, went up for sale, she decided to make her dream come true. She took the sum total of her savings—$7000—and purchased the then two-year-old gallery from its original owner, potter Steve McGovney.
At first dividing her time between her new gallery and her full-time job as a senior urban planner for the architectural firm NBBJ, Michele began stocking Fireworks with merchandise she described as
practical objects with a playful edge, focusing in particular on showcasing the work of talented local artists from the Pacific Northwest. Success of her venture soon permitted Michele to quit her job and devote herself full time to her gallery.
Reinvesting her earnings into Fireworks, she was able to open a second retail location in Westlake Center in downtown Seattle in 1988. This store has moved 3 times since then to its most recent rebirth on the main floor opening the summer of 2013, coincident with significant remodeling of the mall itself.
Since then Fireworks has grown to include 7 stores in the greater Seattle/Bellevue area including 2 locations at SeaTac Airport: the first in the Central Terminal, the second, opened the summer of 2013, in the North Satellite.
The medium is not as important as its ability to be functional and entertaining, states gallery owner and Chief Firecracker Michele Manasse, and to this end, she continues to look for fun, unusual, and functional merchandise to fill her galleries, embodying Fireworks Galleries' motto,
Celebrating Art in Life.