Step 2. Shift Workshop

Use Design Thinking and Business planning to Create Beneficial Community Projects.

Discover new ways to think about the power of creativity and challenge your mental models about art, business, community and money. Take the mystery out of business planning. Strengthen your creative muscles and entrepreneurial mindset. Practice design thinking and prototyping.

The Shift Workshop uses hands-on collaboration, design thinking, and business planning to help grow creative communities and economies.

Creative people get business skills and business people get creative

In a multi-day, hands-on workshop, Air Certified Facilitators help small teams learn to use collaboration skills, design thinking, and business planning to create small, locally implementable projects. It’s totally unique in bringing together emerging and professional creatives and business people for a collaborative learning experience.


What You Will Learn & Do

Day 1 – 4 hours

Shift Your Mindset.

Discover new ways to think about the power of creativity and challenge your mental models about art, business, community and money.

Sessions include:

  • The Paradigm Shift
  • Who Are We? Exercise
  • Tell Your Story Exercise
  • Small Builds Big Builds Small Exercise
  • Design Thinking Overview
  • Community Collaboration Project Overview

Day 2 – 8 hours

Learn by Doing – With Others!

Take the mystery out of business planning and strengthen your creative muscles. Work with a small, facilitated group to create a local project that uses creativity to improve your community. Use the Air Project Canvas to build a business plan that is implementable.

Sessions include:

  • Team Building
  • Creativity Strength Training
  • Building the Project
  • Research Tools
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Project Operations
  • Testing & Refining

Day 3 – 4 hours

Find Your Voice.

Present your groups’ plan, show and tell the story of your Community Collaboration Project, and get valuable feedback from local leaders.

Action Session – 4 hours

Get to Work & Make it personal.

Recharge with your team and refine your Project plans. Get a 15 minute coaching session and start planning your new career path, project, or venture.

Implemented Community Collaboration Projects

The Rise & Shine Market was designed in the first Patrick County, VA Shift Workshop in 2018. Still going strong years later, the youth market is growing young creatives entrepreneurs who can now imagine a bright future in their region.


The Pop Up STEAMshops project was designed in the Berea, KY Shift Workshop in 2017. A dedicated team worked on the project all winter and attended the Evolve Program to work out the details of the project. New sponsors emerged and volunteers helped design the programs for kids. Ten pop-up STEAM workshops occurred in 2018 and more than 300 kids participated in the activities.

To promote tourism and healthy lifestyles, the Patrick County Trail HANDS (Heritage, Art, Nature, Dreams and Stories) project used giant cement hands, decorated by local artists, to feature five hiking trails in different communities in Patrick County, VA.

The Berea Story Trail was designed in the 2019 Berea, KY Shift Workshop. The project was implemented by the City of Berea Parks Department and is sponsored by the Madison County Public Library and other Berea organizations. An advisory group helps change the stories quarterly. Many loved having the safe, distanced outdoor story trail during the months of COVID lockdown.

The Patrick County Barn Quilt Trail was designed to connect with barn quilt trails in neighboring counties to promote tourism. A series of Barn Quilt workshops have been held for people to create a painted wooden quilt block that can be hung on a barn or other structure as part of the trail.

As a product of an AIR Shift Workshop held at Piedmont Arts, in Martinsville, VA, this project provides artist-designed public benches to be placed at bus stops and other public locations around Martinsville and Henry County. It is currently funded by the Harvest Foundation.

Shift Workshop Materials

Shift participants receive printed and digital editions of Air workshop guides. All Air materials are copyrighted using Creative Commons licenses that allow for attributed, noncommercial use. You can order your own print copies or download electronic materials that you can save and fill.