In July, Berea College acquired the intellectual property of the Arts Incubator of the Rockies, AIR. The programs, now known as the AIR Institute of Berea College has relocated from Colorado and become part of the College Crafts Program at Berea.
The AIR Institute programs serve communities with creativity-focused community and economic development workshops and programs. Using cross-sector collaboration, AIR serves artists, business people, educators, and the community together. AIR Institute programs teach design thinking, business planning, and entrepreneurial initiative with the latest business development strategies and tactics, such as fast prototyping and lean startup principles. Hundreds of people from a dozen states have used the programs to succeed.
“Berea College believes that the AIR programs provide a sustainable future for the American Craft movement, the work of creatives, and vibrant, creative communities nationwide,” said Lyle Roelofs, president of Berea College.
Berea College will be offering AIR programs throughout the United States, with an initial focus on Appalachia and the Intermountain West regions. “The AIR programs build on the Berea College tradition of serving artists, expanding financial opportunities for Appalachia, and promoting arts, crafts, and creative business practices,” said Tim Glotzbach, Director of Berea College Crafts. “The programs are a natural extension of the original Fireside Industries programs instituted by Berea’s third president, William Goodell Frost in the late 1800s. Students and others in our region will now be able to access innovative programs that will help them make a financially sustainable living as artists, creatives, and social entrepreneurs,” said Glotzbach.
Beth Flowers, the former Executive Director of the Arts Incubator of the Rockies, will serve as the Director of the AIR Institute of Berea College.
The AIR Institute of Berea College includes the AIR:Shift Workshop, AIR:Evolve Program, AIR:Internship Program and the AIRffiliate train-the-trainer community development programs, and associated website, marketing materials and community development methods.
Berea College is known internationally as a center for and leader of the American Arts and Crafts movement and Appalachian Craft Revival. The College Crafts Program at Berea has been training, making, and selling hand-crafted furniture, brooms, textiles, and ceramics since 1893. The program was established as a way to preserve traditional Appalachian crafts and to provide parents a currency with which they could help pay for their children’s education. Every year, more than 100 of Berea’s 1,600 students choose to work in the Crafts studios, shops, and outreach programs as part of the Berea College Labor Program.
Since the Arts Incubator of the Rockies, AIR began in 2012, more than 500 artists, creatives, business owners, educators, and community leaders from more than a dozen states have participated in AIR Institute workshops and programs resulting in participants gaining diversified networks, increased productivity, higher morale and increased revenues. Funding for the development of the AIR Institute was provided in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and Americans for the Arts.
For more information about the AIR Institute of Berea College visit: www.AIRinstitute.org