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Mixxer looks to bring people together

Mixxer looks to bring people together
October 05
07:00 2017

For years Alan Shelton has been intrigued with the idea of bringing a maker space to the City of the Arts. While there is still a lot of work to be done, soon Shelton’s dream of creating a space where artists, designers and entrepreneurs can create and make ideas come to life will be a reality, when he opens the doors of WSMixxer early next year.

Mixxer is designed to create a space where members of the community can share tools, ideas, and workspace. Markerspaces have a variety of equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutters, soldering irons and sewing machines to meet the needs of entrepreneurs of all kinds.

Shelton, who has 20 years of experience in construction, said he got the idea for Mixxer after meeting with other designers in the area who needed space to build projects they had been thinking about. He said oftentimes people have access to certain tools at school or at work that they don’t have access to when working on their own projects and ideas.

“Your office or place of business may not be the place to work on your own ideas so we’re opening a place here specifically for that,” said Shelton. “The surveys we’ve sent out show there’s a lot of interest in metal working, wood working, and things related to digital design and electronics.”

When discussing the name, Shelton said he didn’t want the name to have anything to do with technology because the makerspace will be much more than a building things with hi-tech equipment. He said technology is not the point of Mixxer, but building a community is.

“The whole idea behind the name Mixxer came along because we didn’t want it to have anything to do with technology. The purpose of this company is to build a community and build a community resource that people can tap in to,” said Shelton. “That’s the point and that’s why the name Is Mixxer.”

When construction is complete, Mixxer will include equipment for working with materials such as; wood, metal, plastics, leathers, and textiles. There will also be space and equipment to work with more modern technology such as laser cutters, 3D printers, and a CNC (computer numerical control) machine. According to Shelton, Mixxer will also have a fully functioning computer lab, and possibly a screen printing machine. He said the best part about Mixxer is all the equipment will be movable, which will make it easier to add new equipment as needed.

While leading a tour of the building, pointing out where the different machines will be, Shelton said Mixxer will be a place where art, science, and technology comes together.

“Art, science and technology have been intertwined throughout our history. They’re still intertwined I just think people miss that today. They feel like they’re different things,” said Shelton. “We see a lot of artists use the same tools as engineers, they just use them in a different way.”

Shelton said the creative DIY space will have the capacity to serve everyone in the community, even children. He mentioned there are already plans to host summer camps at the makerspace for children who attend local schools. Membership will operate like the YMCA with options to pay fees monthly or yearly. Mixxer will be the fourth makerspace to open in the Triad  since 2013. Similar spaces are already in operation in Greensboro and Burlington.

“Our mission is to serve the community by providing resources that people need to express their creativity. That creativity can be for a business owner, an artist or even a student. This is for a wide range of people.” Shelton said.

Mixxer is located at 1375 North Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Opening day is scheduled for Jan. 2018. For more information or for virtual tour of the makerspace, visit www.wsmixxer.org.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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