By Noelle Olson
Hidden in the Shoreview Village Mall is the Sacred Grounds Coffee House, a nonprofit creative community space meant to plant seeds of understanding so that equity and healing may flourish for all.
Shoreview resident Sarah McGuiness, the founder and director of Sacred Grounds Coffee House, said it is part of a 10-year vision of building relationships and partnerships. The nonprofit opened its doors in July 2021 with hopes of expanding in the near future.
“Our mission is to honor marginalized peoples’ lives for the arts and trauma-informed togetherness,” McGuiness said. “Seventy-five percent of our partners are artists, musicians, authors and organizations from underrepresented communities, and 25 percent are strong allies. We have partnerships with Minnesota Peace Building Institute, Cow Tipping Press and Peace Coffee.”
McGuiness said they have an art store led by persons with disabilities, a small space that is right next to the Overflow Community Thrift Store. “The money we raise there all goes back into our basic operational costs, as we are volunteer-led and all of our artists represented in the store are from Minnesota,” she said.
Because of the tiny store, Sacred Grounds Coffee House utilizes the hallway space with tables and chairs, a counter, one Keurig coffeemaker and guitars. “We have such a great relationship with the other businesses here, and they don’t mind us using the hallway for our programs,” McGuiness said.
Sacred Grounds Coffee House has a program called Connecting Community Through the Arts, where people can create, listen and connect with local volunteer musicians, artists, authors and other community partners. The program runs from 3:30 to 5 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday; its cost is free and donations are welcomed.
“Everything that we do is geared toward people with and without disabilities coming together to celebrate diversity, promote equity and build resilience through the arts together,” McGuiness said. “We try to keep everything free and donation-based so that access to the arts is not limited by financial resources.”
While the coffeehouse is supported in part with donations for snacks and art supplies from the local community, it recently received a grant from the Metro Regional Arts Council. McGuiness said the bigger vision of Sacred Grounds Coffee House is to eventually have a real coffee bar.
“Behind the wall of the store is a vacant space that used to be a restaurant. When we can afford it, we’ll break down the wall and have an actual coffee bar, not just a Keurig,” McGuiness said. “When we do have that real coffee bar, we want to give priority to people with disabilities — especially developmental disabilities — to work as baristas. The persons with disabilities population don’t have a whole lot of visibility after they age out of school, and they don’t have a lot of opportunities.”
Hours for the Sacred Grounds Coffee House store are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday; noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday; and noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. People can check the website for changes in hours and special events.
For more information on Sacred Grounds Coffee House, visit www.sacredgroundscoffee.org or Facebook at Sacred Grounds Coffee House Minnesota.
Noelle Olson is a reporter for Press Publications. This article is reprinted with permission.