All images © Nucleus Portland.
© Nucleus Portland.
This month, Res Nova Law is pleased to shine its Small Business Spotlight on Portland art gallery and bar, Nucleus Portland. Currently, Nucleus has two locations—Gallery Nucleus just outside of Los Angeles, California, and Nucleus Portland in inner Southeast. Nucleus Portland, which opened its doors in 2016, is owned and operated by Stella Ichsan and her husband Charlie Prom. We sat down with Stella to discuss what motivates her, what it's like to run a business as a husband-and-wife team, and her biggest personal and business goals.
An Art Gallery with a twist:
If you haven't visited Nucleus Portland on 1445 SE Hawthorne Blvd., you're missing out. The gallery space itself is beautiful, bright, and open; and the artwork is impeccably curated. For example, Nucleus Portland's 2016 "Salut!" exhibition featured hundreds of hand-painted coasters by over 100 artists, including Portland illustrators Sleepy Jess, Sabrina Elliott, Sashiko Yuen, and many more. You can view (and purchase) the coasters here. Nucleus Portland also features solo and group shows featuring a diverse selection of talented artists from around the world.
Booze, Workshops, And Event Space:
What makes Nucleus Portland so innovative is its business model, which is designed to educate and engage the local community. In addition to art exhibitions, Nucleus Portland has its own bar, with beer on tap—and wine! In fact, the gallery hosts a "Drink and Draw" event every Thursday from 5-9 PM, where you can doodle, possibly get a little tipsy, and make new friends. Nucleus Portland also offers community workshops; upcoming events include a workshop on how to make your own paper flowers, and how to make macramé wall hangings. Plus, you can rent their gorgeous 1000 square foot space for events, such as holiday parties, birthdays, and more.
“Sustaining the business, being able to have the means and time to travel, and most importantly, for our gallery to be considered a welcoming space to the community... that's what would make me the happiest. ”
— Stella Ichsan, on her personal & business goals
“Experiencing something so new—owning a business—means that we're continuously growing together. But it can be difficult to step away from the business and just be husband and wife. Separating the two is not easy. ”
— Stella Ichsan, on working with her partner
Business Advice from Nucleus Portland:
We'll leave you with some solid business advice from Stella: "Know your target market and demographics, do your research, and absolutely have a business plan." We're so with you on this, Stella. The importance of market research, well-thought out business moves, and a written business plan are truly key to building and growing a successful business. A big thanks to Nucleus Portland for their time and thoughtful discourse!
© Nucleus Portland.
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