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AIR Brings Creatives And Business People Together To Improve Communities

The Rise and Shine Market in Stuart, VA got it's start at an AIR Institute workshop. The market allows young entreprenuers to sell produce, plants, as well as fine arts and crafts.
Rise and Shine Market
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Facebook
The Rise and Shine Market in Stuart, VA got it's start at an AIR Institute workshop. The market allows young entreprenuers to sell produce, plants, as well as fine arts and crafts.

Connecticut has joined several other states in a program that brings artists and business people together to improve their communities.

The AIR Institute got its start in 2011 as the Arts Incubator of the Rockies. The goal was to help rural and under-resourced communities spark their creative economy. Through a certified facilitator, creative and business people come together in a workshop setting to find creative ways to solve a community problem as defined by the group.

The facilitator helps the group complete a project that addresses the problem. The hope is the group can then move forward on to other projects long after the facilitator is gone.

“Participants in the workshops leave being able to then facilitate that process among the group, to continue to address issues that could have really stellar outcomes,” said Elizabeth Shapiro, Director of the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

The program will be administered by the Connecticut Office of the Arts. Shapiro said they are in the process of vetting local facilitators. Communities who wish to participate should contact the COA. Shapiro said the program brings the arts closer to the center of that community.

The Patrick County, VA Barn Quilt Trail was developed in an AIR Institute workshop to promote tourism in the region.
Meg Wilson
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AIR Institute
The Patrick County, VA Barn Quilt Trail was developed in an AIR Institute workshop to promote tourism in the region.

“The arts are an amazing outlet and an important part of becoming and being a healthy citizen, explained Shapiro. “You can’t be a fully participating citizen unless you feel good about who you are and the community that you are living in.”

The workshops are mutually beneficial. Business people get to hear creative ways to solve business problems, while creative people become more business minded. Connecticut is one of the first states outside of the Appalachian region to participate in the AIR Institute.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series “Where Art Thou?” Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of “Morning Edition”, and later of “All Things Considered.”
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