AIR has evolved since its humble beginnings in 2012 in Fort Collins, Colorado. We’ve transformed from a small town’s big idea to an impactful program that has served several thousand artists, creatives and communities across the United States.
AIR was created to teach creatives and business people to share their strengths and connect. AIR worked with hundreds of people across the Intermountain West to pilot and begin the implementation of the programs.
In 2016, Berea College acquired the intellectual property of the AIR programs and hired Beth Flowers, the creative force and leader of the program, as the Director of the AIR Institute of Berea College.
Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor, and service. The College admits only academically promising students with limited financial resources, primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia, although students come from approximately 40 different states and 70 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, meaning no Berea student pays tuition. Berea is a federally-recognized Work College, and students work ten hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing, meals, and other expenses.
The Strategic Initiatives division of Berea College is responsible for overseeing and stewarding relationships with partners that support on-campus programming as well as educational and community development programs that help address the College’s commitment to the Appalachian region. Grow Appalachia, the Brushy Fork Institute, Partners for Education, and the AIR Institute comprise the externally-facing programs of the division.