AIR Institute of Berea College




AIR Institute of Berea College


To create a culture and sense of place that values creativity of all expressions and sustains artists and communities. To provide education, resources, and support to elevate artistic careers and organizations throughout Appalachia.


The emergence of more vibrant and enterprising communities through the generation of greater value for the arts and creativity.

Overview of Organization

The AIR Institute of Berea College serves communities with creativity-focused community and economic development programs that are designed to raise the value of creativity in every community. The AIR programs connect creatives, business-minded folks, and their community and helps them collaborate and use design thinking and business planning to make their communities more vibrant.

AIR programs include a three-day Shift Workshop and six-month Evolve programs. Shift Workshop participants work together quickly to design and plan implementable projects for their community that focus on raising the value of arts and creativity. Projects have a one-year timeline and less than $10,000 budgets to ensure their local success. Examples of projects that have been implemented include: streetscape designs, youth farmers market, Pop-up STEAM shop, hiking trail wayfinding, youth-run coffee shop, barn quilt trail festival, suicide prevention campaign, and business creativity training.

AIR uses a train-the-trainer facilitation model to ensure that their core programs are locally delivered and relevant. More than 70 people will be trained in 2019 as AIR facilitators in KY, VA, SC, WV, OH, NC, and TN.

In January 2018, AIR convened more than forty people across seven Appalachian states to discuss the development of a regional creative economy network. The emerging network includes leadership from seven states that are all now using the AIR programs and Artists Thrive tools and hope to share stories, convene regularly, and help grow the creative assets of Appalachia.


Beth Flowers



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AIR Institute of Berea College

210 Center St, Berea, KY 40403