Pictured above: Pictured from left are DeWitt House of Harvest, Holly Burton, marketing and programs coordinator at Piedmont Arts, and Heidi Pinkston, executive director of Piedmont Arts.
With support from a $10,000 Pick Up the Pace! grant from The Harvest Foundation, Piedmont Arts will bring the AIR Shift Workshop to Martinsville-Henry County.
AIR Shift is a multi-day, facilitated workshop that uses hands-on collaboration, design thinking, and business planning to help grow creative communities and economies, according to the AIR Institute website.
DeWitt House, senior program officer at The Harvest Foundation, said this program is a creative way to inspire innovative thinking.
“Participants in the AIR Shift Workshop will be a diverse mix from business and industry, nonprofit, local government, education, and community leaders,” House said. “We hope this program will encourage an entrepreneurial mindset that results in sustainable programs and ideas that can be implemented in our community.”
The AIR program got its start in 2012 in Fort Collins, Colo. Berea College took over the program in 2016. It was created to connect artists and business people to share their strengths and collaborate.
Holly Burton, marketing and programs coordinator for Piedmont Arts, is also a trained facilitator for the AIR Shift program. She said this workshop is an amazing way to bring the community together.
“Seeing the community collaboration will be fantastic,” she said. “Seeing people come together from all walks of life and backgrounds for an intensive workshop creates lifelong bonds. The ultimate goal is to see solutions for the community and to work together. Participants come away with business plans, budgets, marketing plans and more. It’s incredible to see this community collaboration.”
There is a $50 participation fee, although Burton says she will be reaching out to local organizations to sponsor fees for individuals if needed. The workshop is open to a wide range of participants including business leaders, civic organizations, artists and students.
Piedmont Arts Executive Director Heidi Pinkston said she is excited to be part of bringing this program to the community.
“This workshop has so much potential for our community with long-lasting benefits,” she said. “We all feel and see the need for new jobs, and bringing art and business together can lend us a unique way to approach those challenges.”
In the spring of 2018, Patrick County held an AIR Shift pilot program at Reynolds Homestead in Critz, Va. The workshop generated three community projects: The Patrick County Barn Quilt Trail, the Rise and Shine Market and Trail HANDS (Heritage, Arts, Nature, Dreams, Stories).
The dates for the workshop are 3-7 p.m. on Monday, January 20, 2020; 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21; and from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22. To learn more about Martinsville-Henry County AIR Shift program, email firstname.lastname@example.org and or call 276-632-3221 ext. 23.
The Harvest Foundation’s Pick Up the Pace! grants program is a competitive, small grants program designed to engage people and organizations in sparking innovative ideas, collaborations and change in Martinsville and Henry County. These six-month grants for up to $10,000 are available for application year-round. To find out more, visit www.theharvestfoundation.org or call (276) 632-3329.