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Winston Starts Ribbon Cutting

Art Starts Announces Ribbon Cutting and Reveal for 500 West Fifth Mural Project

2:00 p.m., Friday, July 19, on the 4th floor of 500 West Fifth Street

Winston-Salem, NC (July 17, 2019) -- Winston Starts, the nonprofit organization that promotes entrepreneurship and startups, will have a ribbon cutting ceremony for its Art Starts project at 2:00 p.m., Friday, July 19, on the 4th floor of 500 West Fifth Street in Winston-Salem.

“As we were designing the interior offices and conference rooms for Winston Starts, I knew I wanted a space for local artists to display their talents,” said Betsy Brown, director of the new, low-cost, admission-based startup incubator that is the fastest growing in the area. “We decided on a project that would involve students from many of our area’s high schools and colleges working together.”

The students partner with local professional artists, giving them a platform to work together and showcase their talents by transforming the concrete-lined stairways and landings of 500 West Fifth into a map showcasing the objectives and missions of some of its newly-renovated floors.

Don Flow, chairman and CEO of Flow Companies who co-founded Winston Starts, said, “Our goal is to fill 500 West Fifth with vitality and young people who want to start companies, who want to take risks, and who want to imagine a different future.” The Art Starts program, now in its second year, furthers that objective.

This summer, the Art Starts team is curating a mural for the building’s 3rd floor. Because this floor is occupied by various schools in the city, the theme of this year’s mural is entrepreneurship and academic collaboration. The 2019 team is composed of students from Salem College, Wake Forest University, Calvary Day School, Career Center, R. J. Reynolds High School, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Forsyth Country Day School.

Aliyah Rice, who is a rising senior at Salem and on the 2019 team as well as a current intern for Winston Starts, said, “Working with other artists in the community has been an honor. I love the notion of creating a mural that helps interpret the building and its mission.”

Entering the stairwell from the 3rd floor, one is greeted by scenic images of Winston- Salem, including a realistic skyline of the city as well as sweeping mountain ranges featuring Pilot Mountain. In addition to the journey though Winston Salem depicted on the larger walls, the artists have designed images of hands coming together in academic collaboration and a lightbulb to represent entrepreneurship.

Art Starts is in it for the long haul. With two years under its belt, it will transform the remaining floors of the18-story building with annual projects and expand into other spaces in Winston Salem, including buildings startup companies from 500 West Fifth move into when they leave.

“With their talent and creativity, these students have turned a boring stairwell into a thing of beauty and become an example of the kind of collaboration we would like to see going forward between schools and students in Winston-Salem,” Brown said. “We hope this is just the beginning of how Winston Starts can nurture talent, support entrepreneurism and drive collaboration.”

Winston Starts is the brainchild of businessman and visionary Don Flow, chairman and CEO of Flow Companies, Inc., and John Whitaker, founder and former CEO of Inmar. The nonprofit’s mission is to support the growth of local startups with unique, nationally-scalable business models and ultimately drive the future economic health of Winston-Salem and theTriad by promoting a culture of entrepreneurship, collaboration and innovation and retaining the area’s best and brightest minds.


For additional information please contact:

Betsy Brown

Director, Winston Starts

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