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New Moon rising 

Social venture combines business, creativity and passion to make positive changes

MIRIAM AND JACOB HODESH are on a mission.

The two have founded New Moon of Savannah, a social venture that mixes business strategy with community awareness and passion. In their short time in Savannah, they’ve made a big impression.

“It’s really a testament for Savannah that we’ve got people like them moving here,” says Daniel Dodd, project director for Step Up Savannah.

“Miriam has tons of background working with nonprofits and Jake was working at Tulane University with their business department and really understands that world,” Dodd says. “What they were interested in was helping start a community center for nonprofits. That’s something I’m working on with Step Up Savannah and our poverty-reduction program.”

The Hodeshes told Dodd they wanted to make sure the neighborhoods are involved. “They want to make sure they’re really propping up the neighborhood,” he says.

The Hodeshes are quickly overcoming any perceptions they are outsiders who are just butting in, Dodd says. “In any community, people get really used to the people they’ve got there, they trust the people they know,” he says. “Jake and Miriam have the right ideas and great intentions. They’re go-getters and they’re going to make it.”

One of New Moon’s first ventures was the establishment of the Savannah Market Bazaar at the old Sears building parking lot. Vendors pay a $25 fee for two parking spaces and sell their wares to customers, who are admitted to the bazaar for free.

Up next is the Summer Art Revue, a show featuring eight local artists whose work has become collectible. It will be held Saturday, July 26 from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday, July 27 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at a Victorian house at 11 W. Park Ave.

“What they’re doing with the Sears building is phenomenal,” Dodd says. “They put together an impressive presentation for St. Pius. They were willing to commit to the project for 10 years to run it and come in with their own money. The business folks asked them tough questions,” he says. “They’re young and not from here, but they know their stuff. We’re very fortunate to have them here.”

Connect recently caught up with Miriam Hodesh to talk about New Moon and the upcoming art revue.

What is New Moon?

Miriam Hodesh: We launched our business in April. I feel like we’ve already made an impact in the community. We’ve learned a lot about what’s going on in Savannah and hope to make more strides.

New Moon of Savannah is a social venture. A social venture means the development of projects, organizations or businesses that address real social needs and provide sustainable outcomes.

New Moon of Savannah really has two different issues we address. We plan and organize community-oriented programs. We host programs in the community, such as the Savannah Market Bazaar, which is held the second Saturday of the month. Our next bazaar will he held Sept. 15 with 40 to 50 vendors.

We really try to find a niche in the community and address an issue that hasn’t been done before. There is lots of creative energy, lots of talented artists, who don’t necessarily have a storefront to represent them.

This marketplace is a place for them to come together and show their work and see how sales go. It’s a sustainable way for them to get their names out.

We’re working with the Starland Farmers Market so we don’t take away what’s already great in the city. They know what they do and they’re great at doing it. We’re working to see how we can join forces so that people with shopping bags out buying produce can come down and buy at our market, too.

What is the Summer Art Revue and how did it come about?

Miriam Hodesh: We were approached by Scott Griffin, a friend of ours who is a local collectible artist. He wanted to know if we were interested in organizing local collectible artists for a summer show.

We know summer isn’t most the popular time for an art show, but we have eight different artists. All of these people are going to be showing their work and selling their backlog inventory. It’s a great opportunity for collectors who want to grab something they haven’t seen before or young buyers looking for something by a collectible artist.

It will be held in an old Victorian house that happens be for sale. You’re walking in an actual home where artwork is over the fireplace, so you can say, ‘That would work in my home.’

So you have events in several locations?

Miriam Hodesh: That’s what’s keeping us unique. We don’t have a specific venue. We’re using the community as our venue. We came in with the idea of finding a building and fixing it up, but the numbers didn’t work for us. Depending on the program, the event, we will utilize all buildings and spaces that are available. It’s a win-win situation.

What brought you to Savannah?

Miriam Hodesh: I was finishing my MBA in nonprofits at Brandeis University in Boston. We got married in November 2007 and made a road trip from Boston to Florida, looking for a place to settle. We went to Wilmington, Charleston, all the way down to Miami.

Our first time in Savannah, we met with Mayor Otis Johnson. We met some amazing people, people who have their ears to the ground. They felt our energy and passion and said, “You have to move here.” It’s a great city and whatever you want to do, you can make it happen.

What’s up next?

Miriam Hodesh: We have lots of projects on the table now. We want to work with the public school system to bring awareness to healthy lunches, like maybe have a lunch plate special and ask a local chef to take the current ingredients and create a lunch that would be sampled at a fund raiser by students, faculty and community people.

We came up with the idea of the Savannah Paper Project. We’re approaching architecture firms in the city and asking them what they do with their oversized paper. We’re collecting it and compiling it and cutting it down and creating notebooks. We’re selling them in stores, giving some note pads to the public schools. We’re trying to create one more use out of a product to offset the paper we’re using.

I think my husband and I both have had great experiences in the working world, but we both are driven people and felt like could do this on our own. We have so many different ideas. We’re always trying to network and bring people together.

Summer Art Revue

Eight collectible Savannah artists come together for a show that will continue into the night with drinks, food and entertainment by Stan Ray, the Tenderloin Trio, Curl & Crockett, Dare Dukes and a late night set by DJ Valis. A casual brunch will be served on Sunday 11a.m.-4 p.m. When: July 26 noon-10 p.m. and July 27 11 a.m.-4 p.m.Where: 11 W. Park Ave.Info: 704-8446 or miriam@newmoonofsavannah.com
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Linda Sickler

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