2019 was a good year for Mixxer. Thank you for your support as we are closing in on the end of year 2 in operation. We’ve got a lot of new things planned for 2020 and we can’t wait to tell you more about them, but for now, let’s look back at 2019.
Thanks to a generous grant from The Winston-Salem Foundation we were able to hire a Community Events Manager; exactly what we needed to meet the needs of our community. Elaine wasted no time in developing a following at Mixxer. She has the stats to prove it, but you don’t need stats to feel how much more lively things are at Mixxer these days. Adding the capacity to do more outreach and the ability to hold workshops was the surge of energy needed to allow us to finish 2019 on an upward trajectory. Membership is on an upward trend, and our ever-expanding workshop offerings are making it possible for practically anyone to Make Stuff & Learn Stuff at Mixxer!Adrian Smith, our Programs Director, started in January and promptly went to work helping us enhance our links with other organizations in the local Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, and looking for grant opportunities that would allow us to have more of an impact throughout Winston-Salem. Adrian organized the first annual Industry Hill Block Party, pulling together our many neighbors as well as presenters for two panel discussions. NC Idea Foundation funded video production for the block party and the two panel discussions: The Future of Industry Hill, and The State of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. Adrian also led the grant writing process that led to a grant from The Winston-Salem Foundation; making it possible for us to hire Elaine, our Community Events Manager.
Elaine let it be known from the moment she first walked in the door at Mixxer that she is serious about building a strong community of creatives, and Mixxer is a perfect place for her to do that. Elaine took over the persona of Maxine Maker, a pseudonym we created for interns to post to social media on our behalf. Within a week or so Maxine Maker went from having three friends on Facebook to nearly 5,000. With our new and improved social media presence and the long-awaited implementation of learning workshops and classes, membership and the number of visitors at Mixxer increased tremendously.
We also held our first ever Iron Pour in September, which if you haven’t heard of it, you can watch a short video here. The Iron Pour was made possible by a generous donation from the family of the late Eugene Sulkowski, as a lovely gesture to our community, and to one of our members, Eugene’s daughter, a very talented artist.
We’ll wait until next month to tell you all about what we have up our sleeves for 2020. There are so many great things in the works, and 2020 is going to be a banner year for Mixxer. Until then, here’s a partial list of our accomplishments and programs of 2019:
- Support local Entrepreneurs
- Link 12+ Entrepreneurs to Mixxer Member Makers for professional services
- Support 17 Mixxer Member Maker Entrepreneurs through access to equipment and shared member knowledge
- Create links to Venture Café, Hustle Winston-Salem, The Access Center, Flywheel Coworking, and Winston Starts to create stronger ties throughout the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.
- Partner with an Educational Entrepreneurship program through Winston-Salem Parks and Recs for custom-designed graphic t-shirt workshop.
- Organize and host the First Annual Industry Hill Block Party
- Organize and host the First Annual Iron Pour
- Partnered with The Arts Based School for (Cast Iron) Sand Mold Carving Class in connection with the Iron Pour.
- We were awarded grants totaling over $80k from NC Idea Foundation, Winston-Salem Foundation, and others (Anonymous).
- Implemented Classes and Workshops programming.
- Hosted 11 ConnExxpo events, introducing Mixxer to over 200 new people.
- Completed a Metal Shop Makeover utilizing funds donated by 30+ women in our community.
- Started Women’s’ Welding Wednesday. (Women only in the welding shop from 6 to 8 pm twice per month).
- Partnered with Sawtooth School for Visual Arts for 3D Printing, Laser Etched Print Blocks, and Welding for Artists workshops.
- Hosted numerous Artists and Entrepreneur led programs for local nonprofits and start-ups, including DENT Creative Reuse Center, Tromploy, LEAD Girls NC, Flywheel Coworking, New Ventures, Community Design Studio, Krankies Craft Fair, Wherehouse Art Fair, Creative Catalyst – Artivate Summit by Kenan Institute for the Arts, Leadership Winston-Salem, and more.
- Host events with WSFC Schools for CTE programs, and Gang Intervention and Prevention.
We’ve had a great year. Thank you for your support and we hope to see you more often in 2020. We have so many great things in store for you. You’ll have to check back next month to learn more.
Mixxer has the tools you need to take on that metal project you have been wanting to tackle. We’ll teach you how to safely weld and use fabrication tools, then feel free to let your creativity take control. We’re working on a Community Metal Sculpture Program for 2020.
Beers-N-Gears Bike Club worked with us to hold a design contest for a new bike rack. The winning entry was designed by Janet Erwin of Clemmons. Thank you Janet!
We had to make some very minor adjustments to the design for it to meet code. We had a build day on Saturday, April 6, and we installed the awesome new rack on Saturday, May 4th during the Beers-N-Gears Bike Fair.
Mixxer is a proud participant and supporter of our local Entrepreneur Ecosystem. Many of our members are starting a new venture or making connections through Mixxer to develop new products. 3D Design, fabrication expertise and access to a vast knowledge base are a few of the things entrepreneurs find at Mixxer in addition to affordable access to tools and equipment.
Cosplay is a passion for many of our members. Some of whom fashion wildly creative costumes with colorful and pointy bits, and sometimes electronic microcontrollers to control lights and sound. We have MixxerCon, a CosPlay themed ConnExxpo event, and plenty of other ways for CosPlayers to get their kicks at Mixxer!
In November of 2018, 60 women participated in a workshop to help us learn what we could do to support their wishes to practice welding. We listened, and they raised over $3500 for us to use to make over the metal shop. We tripled our welding equipment and tripled the number of welding tables in 2019. Now we have Women’s Welding Wednesday at least twice per month. If a Women’s Only event is not your thing, no problem; come in anytime and we’ll get your started welding muy pronto. Guys, feel free to drop in anytime, and we’ll help you get started too!
We hosted the first public iron pour in Winston-Salem to end The Month of Metal in spectacular fashion. We had an entire month of workshops in metalcraft, including sand mold carving workshops at WiseMan Brewing, and Hoots Brewing. We cast about 60 molds made by people of all ages, 15 of which were made by the 6th grade students at Arts-Based School. We’ll definitely do it again next year, bigger and more spectacular!
Our Program Director, Adrian Smith, has done a great job of helping Mixxer grow our abilities to support more entrepreneurs in our area. We partnered with Flywheel Coworking to offer a package membership to make access to resources entrepreneurs need to start, develop, and scale their business or product designs. You can join Mixxer today and get a super deal on a membership at Flywheel.