Year-long partnership to focus on thriving mid-sized cities

Wake Forest University, New Museum’s NEW INC in New York City, and more than a dozen local businesses and organizations, are engaging in a unique year-long partnership under the banner “IdeasCity Winston-Salem.”

Throughout the 2020-21 academic year, community partners will host events to explore creative approaches to improve health and wellbeing, economic development, and justice and equity for members of the Winston-Salem community.

IdeasCity, which began as a collaborative program of the New Museum, has taken many forms over the years as a platform that builds on the premise that art and culture are essential to the future vitality of cities. Winston-Salem joins a global list of cities that have hosted IdeasCity including Athens, Detroit, Istanbul, New Orleans, New York City, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, and Toronto.

IdeasCity WS will engage participants in new ideas and opportunities to explore how creative solutions can foster well-being in the city’s creative economic landscape. The program kicks off on October 8th with a series of events organized by NEW INC, the nation’s first museum-led incubator. 

Virtual “Beta Bonfires” will facilitate discussions about how art, entrepreneurship, technology, and design can solve challenges facing mid-sized cities. The goal is to engage local arts leaders and entrepreneurs in timely, solutions-based discussions. Following a progression of three Beta Bonfire events, NEW INC will present CAMP: a three-day intensive offering professional development workshops, mentoring, and community building. 

The first Beta Bonfire: Rethinking Norms will be held on Thursday, Oct.  8 at 5 p.m. The event is open to all. Registration is required.

“To be selected to host an IdeasCity is an honor,” said Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines. “As the City of Arts and Innovation, Winston-Salem is well-positioned to take full advantage of this opportunity. The variety of perspectives and collaboration offered through this partnership will open new possibilities to improving our community for all.”

Higher-education leaders, community organizations, socially-engaged businesses, and artists will lead a series of complementary city-wide events – from arts performances and exhibitions to hackathons for social change.  

A spring festival planned for April, led by Wake Forest and Winston-Salem community partners, will feature a panel discussion with mayors from other mid-sized cities, a roundtable with Kennedy Center Fellows and local artists. An interactive marketplace of ideas and musical performances will celebrate the rich diversity of local talent and the role of artistic and tech innovation in the life of the mid-size city.

IdeasCity WS

IdeasCity WS Community Partners: Center For Creative Economy, Creative Center of NC., Flywheel, HUSTLE, Innovation Quarter, Kenan Institute, MIXXER Community Makerspace, The Office of the Mayor of Winston-Salem, Salem College Center for Entrepreneurship and Business, SG Atkins Community Development Corporation at Winston-Salem State University, Small Business Center Forsyth Technical Community College, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Wake Forest Center for Entrepreneurship, and Winston Starts