Square One Living combines artistry with social change

2015 0928 a perspectiveBy Alicia Wellinghoff
HEY! Hamilton! Exclusive

With headquarters in a store front at the corner of Edgewood and Millville avenues, Sarah Capehart and her husband Jason have founded Square One Living, a non-profit organization designed around the idea of empowering and strengthening people through simple and sustainable solutions.

StoreFront1The shop has only been up and thriving for about three months, but the Capeharts have been developing the vision for the past year. It continues to evolve every day, but many people are still unaware of the ideas for profound social change gaining momentum within those wooden walls, inspired by a quote from the Dalai Lama:  “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.  And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

That is, life would be much different if everyone began collaborating instead of competing with one another.

chalkboard tableAs the organization continues to grow, SOL will eventually carry only locally crafted and upcycled goods, hand-made collections, raw and unprocessed resources as well as ethically-sourced products.  Most importantly, SOL will provide monthly community projects to encourage people from all cultures to interact with one another, regardless of socioeconomic status,  or skin color. Cultural competency and passion for compassion are at the heart of this organization.

BID wallThe first community project will be an art installation called “Before I Die,” an interactive, international project started by New Orleans artist Candy Chang that allows visitors and passers-by the opportunity to express their dreams and ambitions on a large blackboard wall. The concept has been replicated in over 70 countries.

Having been granted permission from the artist and with the help of community volunteers, Sarah has now brought a piece of this global art to Hamilton, dedicating an exterior wall of their building to invite visitors to reflect on their own life and how they want to live it.  An official wall opening event on October 10 will feature live outside the shop and a raffle for a beautiful piece of upcycled furniture.

sarah_2015Almost all of the upcycled and refinished pieces of furniture at SOL are done by Sarah herself.  For the past five years Sarah has been repurposing furniture that others have thrown out simply for cosmetic wear and tear.  Sarah enjoys sharing her craft with others, but her main motivation is being able to offer alternative lifestyle possibilities to the community that focuses on adding value to one’s life.  She believes that despite anyone’s economic situation, everyone still has the ability to live a rich and meaningful life through alternative solutions.

Sarah explained that the current national consignment fee is 33 percent, a number she found to be impractical to everyday local artisans.  So SOL charges a 10 percent consignment fee,  just one of the many other ways the organization hopes to give back to the community.

“I have extreme faith that by supporting our community, the community will support us,” Sarah said. “Unlike other very large non-profit organizations that receive their funding through the store, like Goodwill, when you donate to SOL you can actually see the money going directly back into the community through our community projects, the first one being the ‘Before I Die’ wall.”

You can also stay up to date on what is going on through SOL’s Facebook page, which Sarah manages daily.

open sign

Photos by Terrance Huff