2018 will be a very exciting year for MIXXER, following a great year in 2017. After thousands of hours of work by many people in the Winston-Salem community, MIXXER is set to open a makerspace to the public in January 2018. MIXXER will be the first makerspace of its kind in Winston-Salem, and will be a great compliment to more focused makerspaces, and educational institutions throughout the Winston-Salem metro area. Starting this January you will have a chance to join MIXXER!

Community engagement:

MIXXER is a culmination of four years of community engagement and planning to determine what our community needs in a makerspace, and how we can build an organization to deliver that. Hundreds of people from many walks of life will now have access to resources that will unleash their creative talent and help them build skills and social capital.

Students, retirees, artists, engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, craftspeople, techies, old-school builders, and tons of other designations fit the people that MIXXER attracts. What brings them to MIXXER is a need to create and/or learn to create. Whatever your reason for showing up, we want you to enjoy the benefits of being a part of MIXXER.

Starting in January 2018 you will have a chance to join MIXXER and be a part of finishing out the facilities. These founding members of MIXXER will help build furniture and set up the studios. We’ll be posting photos and information on our website to keep you informed of the progress of the initial set up of MIXXER, and how you can be a part of the fun. We will be adding lots of tools to our collection every week during the first quarter of 2018.

Starting on January 6, local FIRST Robotics competition teams will converge on MIXXER to build robots to take to national competition. These students will have six weeks to design and build a robot to compete against hundreds of other team’s robots in Houston or Detroit. We have been working with leaders from some of these teams to learn how MIXXER can provide resources that will allow them to dominate their competition for years to come.

 

Highlights from the past year:
Building acquisition:

In March 2017 the MIXXER board of directors was notified of a building that may be a good fit for our business model, and it would be available sometime in the summer of 2017. After one look at the building at 1375 North Martin Luther King Jr. Drive we knew we had found the first home for MIXXER. We struck a deal with the building owner in August and began working on the plans for renovation.

Community Funding Partners:

The L. David Mounts Foundation made a generous donation of $100,000 in 2017 to support MIXXER. Wake Forest Innovation Quarter made a generous donation of $25,000 as well. These two major donations made it possible for MIXXER to sign the lease on a great building and commence the renovation process. The leadership of David Mounts, CEO of Inmar, and Eric Tomlinson, CIO of WFIQ has helped connect the MIXXER board of directors to others in the community that see the value in MIXXER and wish to support our work. We have received additional funding from individuals and organizations that get us much closer to funding our operation as we work toward a self-sustaining business model.

Grant Funding:

MIXXER has been awarded $25,000 from the DataMax Foundation to use toward outfitting the digital studio. These funds will be used to purchase computers and high-tech tools, such as 3D printers, and electronics gear. These items tend to serve the widest array of users in most makerspaces, and we are grateful for the generosity of The DataMax Foundation for bringing this great resource to our community.

Building construction:

MIXXER has contracted LMI Builders to manage the renovations needed to open the MIXXER Studios. Construction is expected to be completed by the first week of January. Check out photos of the building.

Volunteers building the MIXXER studios:

We have opened the new building up to volunteers on several occasions to allow future members the opportunity to be a part of building their makerspace. We have had three painting parties, in which we greatly improved the appearance of the kitchen, the metal studio, and the woodworking studio; and we have had opportunities for volunteers to assist in building some of the furniture and workbenches we will use at MIXXER.

Our Board of Directors

MIXXER is made possible by hard work and dedication of many volunteers, including our board of directors. Our board members fit the business of MIXXER around their demanding schedules. In addition to our original board members: Mark Shill, Joshua Moe, and Casey Crowley and our executive director Alan Shelton; we recently added three new board members: Malay Shah, Michael Suggs, and Sharon Creasy. These are the people managing the business side of building MIXXER.

Building relationships with other organizations in the new year:

Throughout the year we have been seeking opportunities to collaborate with other organizations. This could be through sponsorships, partnerships, or future programming for which the MIXXER studios create opportunities that currently do not exist. Here are a few of the organizations with which we expect to collaborate:

Sawtooth School for Visual Arts has wonderful facilities and instruction, when a focused class is what a maker needs. MIXXER can offer self-guided access to equipment for those that have developed skills and simply need a place to ply their craft, while Sawtooth teaches craftsmanship and artistry. MIXXER creates a low-cost opportunity for people to be exposed to technologies before committing to a class. We believe that a collaboration between Sawtooth and MIXXER will create great opportunities for both organizations by giving more people reasons to be a part of Sawtooth and MIXXER.

Summit School is a private school with a very capable staff and excellent facilities for student engagement and learning. Summit already offers some of the resources that MIXXER will provide to the community, but at scale sized for their students. MIXXER offers opportunities for Summit students to engage with talented people outside of their program, as well as access to even more resources in the MIXXER studios.

Wake Forest University School of Engineering is a new venture in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. Their programs utilize some of the same equipment that can be found at MIXXER, but there is equipment that may make more sense to be located at MIXXER. We look forward to working with WFU Engineering to offer access to specialty equipment and an environment that exposes students to the vast experience of the members that make up the MIXXER community. These engineering students are a good fit for the MIXXER community, and vice-versa.

2018 will be an exciting year for MIXXER. We hope you will be a part of it.