Check out this video about the curriculum development process

AIR Curriculum – Better Every Year

We spent more than two years developing and piloting curriculum that hundreds of folks helped get right. We used design thinking and super-fast prototyping to fail quickly and nail the programs. Now artists are quitting their day jobs and reporting higher revenues than ever in their careers, cross-sector businesses are forming, and locally relevant, creative projects are developing in communities across the country. Artists, creatives, educators, and business people want this artist-created curriculum because it works.


We have devoted significant time and financial investment into making sure that our methods are best practices for collaborations, adult education, and community and economic development. We teach design thinking, prototyping, and diversification of revenue streams.Unlike other professional development programs, AIR brings together artists, creatives, educators, community leaders, and business people for a sustained, collaborative experience that has measurable outcomes.

Because of our commitment to refinement, research and development, AIR curriculum gets better every year. We refine our programs based on new information, reality, and feedback from you. We synthesize your experiences and curate best practices from across the country to make the curriculum better for everyone.



  • Economically empowered creatives achieve professional and artistic success
  • By expanding and engaging creativity, the community thrives and artists are valued as strategic contributors
  • Creativity is encouraged and fostered in educating our youth
  • Creatives acquire non-art skills to enhance their creative expression and support their art-making
  • Creatives have lifelong access to art and business skills, resources, and networks, including coaches and mentors
  • Community members, including educators, have access to interactive arts experiences and creativity skill development programs

Curriculum Competencies

We used public meetings, surveys, and our Curriculum Committee to identify the specific skills and tools that we thought people needed to learn in order to achieve our curriculum goals and overarching vision. Every exercise, the content we present, and the materials you will use are designed to help us achieve these goals.

The Paradigm Shift

Business Planning

Deisgn Thinking

Cross-sector Networks


Creative Thinking

Additional Competencies

Participants can articulate new vision for arts and creativity that includes increased community value for creatives and innovation Can plan new career paths for creatives and uses creativity to help innovate businesses and solve community issues and problems.

Able to write and implement a business plan, including visioning, defining success, identifying audience and customers, marketing and operations strategies, testing and refining, and creating a viable revenue model.

Ability to use design thinking process to vision, plan and implement a project to successful completion, on time and on budget. Be able to create, develop and articulate a project concept.

Community members and creatives know how to find each other and work together well.

Develops cooperation and teamwork skills while participating in a group, working toward mutually beneficial solution. Is able to accommodate the different ways creativity manifests itself – e.g. visions, innovating, experimenting, etc. when working with others on creative projects.

Able to synthesize solutions – e.g. combining of separate elements or substances to form a coherent whole. Able to solve problems iteratively within the context of design thinking.

Communication, Marketing, Social Media, Mentoring, Using Technology, Revenue & Fund Development, Sales, Finance, Bookkeeping, Interactive Arts Experiences & Exposure, Human Resources, Emotional Intelligence, Legal, and Board & Advisor Development

Meet the AIR Trainers

Abby Sienkiewicz

Deputy Director
A Michigan native, Abby has a background in family studies, art therapy, and nonprofit management. Abby moved to Colorado Springs…
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Cass Mullane

Textile Artist & Business Coach
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Delaney Keating

Marketing & Design Guru
An inspired leader and communications specialist, Delaney earned her stripes from the experiment and experience of developing a boutique marketing…
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Gerry Heise

Fundraising Trumpet Player
Gerry Heise is the Executive Director of the GPO, a position he has held since September 2013. He is a…
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Jill MacKay

Designer & Author
Jill MacKay is a designer and author who creates and licenses product lines to national retail chains, large manufactures and…
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