We’ve been talking about it. We’ve been making plans for it. And now Winston-Salem MIXXER, Inc. has signed a lease on the building at 1375 North Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, just a stone’s throw away from the heart of the Art’s District and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. Downtown Winston-Salem will have a makerspace at the intersection of Art and Innovation – literally.

The support from the Winston-Salem community has been growing since MIXXER was a small gathering of people talking about what a community makerspace would mean to them. Over time the movement to create a community makerspace in Winston-Salem has gained momentum.  It has taken the involvement of a community to get us to where we are today and where we want to be in the future. We are extremely thankful for the support of makers throughout the community who continue to show up and share their time and expertise; the insight of professionals in the community willing to assist in developing a sustainable business model; and the leaders in the community that see the value in MIXXER and are connecting us to funding and opportunities to build a strong organization. Through these combined efforts MIXXER has developed plans and raised enough funding to launch MIXXER.

If you are not sure what a makerspace is, you can think of it like the YMCA for people that make things. MIXXER will operate much like the YMCA, except with tools and workspace instead of fitness equipment. Through your membership, you’ll be able to access all of the tools, equipment, workspace, and the collective knowledge of other members. You’ll be able to take classes to learn new skills, or even teach others skills. You’ll be able to spend quality time with friends and family while working on projects, or bounce ideas off of other makers and ask for help with your particular project. MIXXER is a community of makers that use the power of sharing to gain access to the resources they need as individuals.

Seed funding in the form of a generous donation from the L. David Mounts Foundation combined with a donation from the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, led by Eric Tomlinson, and a donation from Mark and Janet Shill of Intelligent Business Solutions has set in motion a chain of events that will create great new opportunities for our community. The MIXXER development team is honored to be supported by these visionary organizations that have been active in the revitalization of downtown Winston-Salem. These donations, combined with additional funds to be raised, will create new connections between art, innovation, education, and entrepreneurship in Winston-Salem. Makers throughout the community will soon be able to access amazing resources that were once out of reach. Community ties will be created that once had no place to happen. Connections between the arts and innovation that were once difficult will soon be as simple as showing up to share ideas and experiment. We are honored by the generosity of the L. David Mounts Foundation, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, Mark and Janet Shill, and look forward to building more connections throughout Winston-Salem and the Triad.

What does this mean for MIXXER?

Over the next few months, you will begin to see significant changes at MIXXER. We have leased the building at 1375 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. and will begin renovations to create the makerspace that this community has been asking for. You will soon notice updates on wsmixxer.org with lots of information about the progress of the renovations and information about ways to get involved. We will begin holding community events around town to give you the opportunity to help us plan the studio spaces at MIXXER, and tell us more about your vision for MIXXER, and we will announce ways for you to participate to bring your makerspace to Winston-Salem.

MIXXER is YOUR makerspace.

We welcome your voice and support at this exciting time in our development.

How can I get involved and support MIXXER today?

Be in the know:

The easiest thing to do is to subscribe to the MIXXER newsletter at: wsmixxer.org and ask your friends and colleagues to do the same. This will give you access to the latest news about MIXXER and notify you of upcoming events and developments. Learn about the Winston-Salem maker community in this recent Innovation Quarter newsletter: http://hub.innovationquarter.com/2017/05/17/making-space-growing-the-maker-movement-in-winston-salem/

Volunteer:

Starting a new organization is a lot of work, so we will be seeking out volunteers for events and planning. Please visit wsmixxer.org/volunteer to learn about volunteer opportunities, and tell us how you would like to participate. We will need volunteers at community events to help us extend hospitality to guests and keep up with the information we collect there, and we will have opportunities for you to help build furniture and decorate the new MIXXER studios. Do you have an idea of how you can help? Let us know. We’ll be asking for volunteers for specific events and tasks soon.

Attend an event:

You can attend events to tell us what you want MIXXER to be. We will be planning events at a few venues around town to give you the opportunity to voice your opinion. Tell your friends. Bring your friends. Make new friends! Visit wsmixxer.org/events/ to see what’s happening.

Support:

Our team has developed sponsorship packages with great incentives for organizations and would love to speak with you about how to get your business or organization connected to the maker community. Contact the executive director – [email protected] for more information. We also will be announcing a crowdfunding campaign to secure the additional funding necessary to personalize the makerspace that this community deserves. There will be opportunities for individual donations, sponsorships, and limited opportunities to buy an annual membership at a significant discount prior to opening day.

Additional Info:

Winston-Salem MIXXER Inc was originally formed in 2014 by a small group of people in need of reliable tools and workspace. MIXXER was originally a vision of Alan Shelton, a craftsman and inventor trying to find a way to access the resources needed to build, create, and invent, then realizing that need perforates our community. The idea of sharing the cost and responsibility of managing these resources seemed to be the best way for everyone to have access to the resources they need to create art, learn new skills, create innovative new products, or just tinker on a project with friends and family. MIXXER has attracted hundreds of makers from many different walks of life during the research and development phase. The needs of these makers are the basis for the design of the building plan and the business plan. MIXXER’s community focus will create new opportunities for stronger social connections that lead to a vibrant community in which to live, work, and play. MIXXER is opening at a point in Winston-Salem’s revitalization when these resources are considered necessary by a large portion of the creative and innovative communities that are driving that revitalization. MIXXER is led by a Board of Directors; Mark Shill, Lucinda Brogden, Joshua Moe, and Casey Crowley. Alan Shelton is the Executive Director.

MIXXER makes it easy to make things. Whether you are a skilled artist or crafter, amateur, tech-nerd, entrepreneur, or just curious about making something for yourself, MIXXER provides safe access to the resources makers need. The MIXXER studios are designed to allow for makers to immerse themselves in their project. There is space to make a mess, and really tidy spaces for more intricate projects. There is also plenty of places to hang out and enjoy the company of interesting people.

The MIXXER Studios include:

Flex Space – For craft and group projects, projects that need clean, comfortable, well-lit surfaces, or for just relaxing and socializin g. There is also comfortable outdoor areas.

Digital Studio – Clean conditioned space equipped with 3D Printers, electronics gear, robotics tools, laser cutters, computers with design software, and fabrication workbenches

Metals Studio – Well ventilated space for cutting, grinding, and forming metals with welders, torches, bending tools, etc. A safe place to make a mess with metal.

Wood Studio – Well ventilated space for cutting, sanding, and fabricating wood and other non-ferrous materials. Traditional wood working tools augmented with CNC tools and fab-space.

Storage Space – Plenty of spaces to store your projects while you are away, and raw materials too.

The MIXXER studios are interconnected to allow for users to choose the proper space for each portion of their project as it progresses, as well as create opportunities for collaborations, socializing, and spontaneous interactions. Traditionally groups of people are separated by their interests. MIXXER separates each studio by walls to maintain safe and comfortable spaces but removes many of the barriers that stifle advances in creativity and technology. MIXXER provides a place for makers to easily access the skills and knowledge of other makers, sometimes in ways that they would not have naturally recognized. Consider the opportunities possible when the artist, engineer, and entrepreneur realize they have complimentary skill sets, and also have a place to experiment with ideas – together.