RED Art Gallery & Café is a gorgeous art gallery, design store and café in Nelson, New Zealand. We are a unique & quirky gallery which stocks beautiful artworks, fabulous design products from around the world & delicious food & coffee.
RED is owned and operated by Caroline & Sarah - two women who love colour, art, design & great food! We believe that all people should have access to great art and be able to view it in a warm and inviting place.
We decided to incorporate all these things together to create a space where all people can come to be inspired, socialise and relax in a friendly atmosphere.
Here is a little Q & A with Sarah published in the Nelson Mail: September 2015
How did you and Caroline come to own Red?
Caroline and I were an arranged marriage - we'd never met before we bought the Red Gallery. The previous owner thought we would be a perfect match and she encouraged us to meet. Within an hour, we had decided to buy Red together. Neither of us ever wanted to own a café or a retail store, or even an art gallery.
What are your backgrounds?
We both have very diverse backgrounds. Caroline trained as a physiotherapist, milked goats, and then became an award-winning interior designer with Arthouse Architecture. Sarah has an MA in politics, worked for the rich and famous in Europe and also runs an environmental consulting company with her husband.
We both grew up in families that appreciated great food and conversation, art collecting and entertaining – so it was natural for us to slide into Red. However, although we both love food, we still don't quite know how we ended up with a café. We thought we'd just be making the odd cup of coffee and maybe sell a scone or two a day but it's a slow day if we haven't sold at least 60 scones!
What do you enjoy about running a gallery and cafe?
Our dream for Red was to turn it into a place where the community could come and be surrounded by lovely people, fabulous art, great coffee and food - a place to feel inspired, but more importantly a place where all people could feel welcome.
We also had a strong desire for art to be accessible to everybody. "I love watching someone who has never considered art before, while waiting for his coffee, wander around the gallery, and then bring his wife back the next day to look at a painting. It makes me feel like I've won - even when they don't purchase anything," Sarah says. .
We also love bringing people together in the café and seeing friendships (even relationships) start there. It was fabulous when the guerilla knitters used the café for regular knitting sessions, and we would love more groups to feel they could do that.
How has your business lasted so long when many don't last the distance, particularly over our slower winters?
Strangely, we never started our business with a purpose to make money. We loved the building, and we loved the idea of being surrounded by lovely people and lovely things. We have just made it our own.We have fabulous staff and loyal customers, and we couldn't do what we do without them.
What do you think of the arts scene in Nelson?
Nelson is blessed with many talented artists and also with people who appreciate the arts. Nelson also has a powerhouse of art shakers and movers and there is a lot of work going on in the background to bring out the region's world-class creativity. The best we can all do to support this is to show up at events and support all the work done by our community, artists, volunteers and organisers.