Makers festival idea gains traction in High Point

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My proposal for a High Point Makers Festival drew an enthusiastic response from some key players in the city almost as soon as our new issue hit the streets and the internet on Tuesday morning, with a flurry of discussion (some of it solicited) ensuing on social media.

Tim Mabe

Tim Mabe, the president and CEO of the High Point Convention, posted a link to the article on his Facebook page at 8:06 a.m.: “Great idea. Who wants to put this on? CVB can help!”

Bruce DavisBut the most enthusiastic response came from Bruce Davis, the chairman of Mabe’s board (who sometimes gets my name wrong). Davis wrote a couple hours later: “We should start working on this idea right away. It is time that we as proud citizens of High Point start doing instead of talking. The great leadership on the events committee can bring this one home. As the chairman of the High Point Convention and Visitors Bureau I will make my personal commitment in fully supporting the efforts to move this task forward.”

I had briefly mentioned the idea to Bruce a couple weeks previously when I interviewed him as a candidate for Congress, and he seemed open to it.

David Briggs, director of High Point Theatre, also endorsed the idea on his Facebook page: “I really like this idea! It makes sense for our city and would be unique!”

Nic Covington, who manages the Uptowne Market in the parking lot at High Point Public Library, called me to say he would be interested in playing a role in the initiative.

In my article, I suggested that the market should include a section for the 512 Collective to display their wares. Tammy McDowell, with the collective, responded to me on Facebook: “You are so right. This article hits the nail right on the High Point head. We 512 Collective artists are in in!”

The article was shared by Councilman Jay Wagner without comment.

Mark Arnold Craven, a former member of High Point City Council weighed in with support for the idea, calling it a start for making High Point “an incubator of sorts for designers and makers of quality handmade furniture, crafts and the fine arts.”

Mark Arnold CravenI’ve offered to assist in any way I can to make the High Point Makers Festival a reality, although as a Greensboro resident, I’ve made it clear that it’s up to people who live in High Point to shape this into what they want it to be.

It’s somewhat unconventional for a journalist to get involved in a project like this, but it feels like time to put up or shut up. At Triad City Beat we regularly hold the civic leadership in High Point, Greensboro and Winston-Salem up to scrutiny, but I’ve concluded that if I can play a positive role I should do it. This should serve as a great laboratory to test my ideas about bottom-up urban revitalization.