Originally from North Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Kelly Smith Cassidy AKA, "Copper Keiligh" was born into a family of fine artists. In the 1950's, her grandparents participated in the first arts and crafts festivals in the USA. In the 1960's they owned galleries in Arizona and Colorado. Her parents, Richard Bell Smith and Blanca Borja Smith met at one such gallery owned by Richard's parents in Old Town Scottsdale in 1969. In 1971, they started creating welded bronze and copper sculptures and paintings and are still today creating one-of-a-kind original pieces inspired by nature. They have owned several galleries of their own since the 1970's. Kelly's first experiences have been of interacting with customers at their numerous galleries.
While in High School in the mid 1990's , Kelly decided to pick up the torch and create her own pieces using the same technique as her parents and putting her own flair and style into the pieces. The result are organically inspired sculptures which have been sold from California to Japan.
Within the almost 20 years that Kelly has been creating her artwork, she has sold hundreds of sculptures mostly through commission. Kelly is an artist at heart and uses her time to create and express in every way she can. She is also an actress having been in three commercials and 7 independent films, has been an artist model for such artists as (architect turned artist) Paolo Solari, painter Wei Tai and sculptor and painter Ramon Parmenter. She has written fiction, non-fiction (she is currently writing a memoir about growing up in an artist's home), world traveler, metaphysical/spiritual explorer, meditation and astrology teacher, and Pod-Caster.
In 1997, while on vacationing on one of her family visits to Scotland (her father's ancestry is Scots-Irish), Kelly discovered the Scottish Gaelic word "Ceilidh" displayed on a sign while walking through a small town on an island in the Scottish Hebrides. "Ceiligh" is the Scots word for "Celebration" and the sign was advertising a traditional Scottish Ceiligh that very night. With her adventurous family, Kelly attended the celebration, danced the Highland Fling, won a bottle of Whiskey and discovered the name for her art business. "Keiligh" is actually "Kelly", but she thought it apropos to recreate the spelling of Kelly for her business name and thus, "Copper Keiligh Creations" ( Copper 'Celebration') was born.
Kelly went to Arizona State University West in Phoenix, AZ and later to The University of Phoenix for dual degrees in Marketing and Business Management. Her sole purpose for pursuing this dual degree was to aid her in her pursuit of owning her own art business as well as helping other artist pursue their dreams. Kelly conducts annual workshops and seminars in marketing, business management and sales for artists. She mentors young art students in creating their own art business's.
Most recently, Kelly has been creating large-scale art installations for the annual Burning Man event. In 2018, she received a grant to create a "burnbot" effigy she named, "Creu Hudol" (Welsh for, "Magical Being") made of carved wood that was burned along with the man on "burn night". In 2019, Kelly's proposal entry for a call for civic parks at the Man Pavilion won and she She received a grant to create three semi-circular amphitheaters. She named the installation, "E Pluribus Unum" (Latin for, "Out of Many, One") with the idea that people are encouraged to gather and create their own experiences within the amphitheaters. In 2020, Kelly received an Honoraria Grant from the Burning Man Organization to create "Infinite Stare"; a monumental sculpture of a neck and head with the face hallowed out to reveal an "empty head". People will be able to climb into the head and explore the "thoughts" written on the walls in pictograms. Since the Burning Man event for 2020 has been canceled, the sculpture is now planned for the 2021 event. Kelly is currently looking for backers for Infinite Stare so that it can be made in stainless steel.
Kelly lives in South Lake Tahoe, CA with her husband, Dr. Kevin Cassidy, a dentist and their English Cream Golden Retriever, Kodiak Bear. She serves as Vice President of the Tahoe Art League.