Building Community Together: Programming at Wake Forest Innovation Quarter

5 minute read

They come in the form of yogis, with mats in tow and fresh-pressed juices in hand. Some wear backpacks, some suits, others lab coats, all lined up in the food truck court during lunch hour.

Sometimes they’re dancers, musicians, artists and the crowds who gather to watch them perform. Entrepreneurs, engineers and creative thought leaders swap ideas, sometimes while sporting tacky holiday sweaters at a networking event.

These are some of the faces of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, a community that features publicly accessible places—both indoor and outdoor—designed for interactions that lead to collaboration.

“We offer and support a variety of free, publicly accessible programming which serves as an amenity for the greater Winston-Salem community—not just those who live and work in the Innovation Quarter,” says Lindsey Schwab, director of community relations at the Innovation Quarter. “The goal is to get as many people as possible involved, participating in and ultimately contributing to this dynamic, shared ecosystem that is being created.”

Programming and community events in the Innovation Quarter come in many different forms. In addition to those hosted by the Innovation Quarter, companies and organizations based within the innovation district—such as Forsyth Technical Community College, Flywheel Coworking, Wake Downtown and Venture Café—drive a range of professional development and entrepreneurial programs. Together the Innovation Quarter and community-sponsored events create a ‘hotbed’ of activity on the east side of downtown Winston-Salem.

To better facilitate these activities, Schwab has identified five programming themes that address the social, intellectual and physical needs of the community. Events rooted in one or more of these themes are offered throughout the year. “As the Innovation Quarter grows, it is important that the opportunities afforded by it are accessible to the whole community,” explains Schwab. Which is one of the reasons all programming offered by the Innovation Quarter, and much of the programming hosted by other groups, is free and open to the Piedmont Triad community and beyond.

Learn about the five themes and examples of each, including which events feature free admission (indicated by a ★):


Celebrating and contributing to the rich culture of the greater Winston-Salem community is at the heart of the Innovation Quarter. From pop-up dance performances to film screenings—like Innovation & Cinema—and food trucks, the Innovation Quarter offers a wide range of cultural events. Bailey Park is the epicenter of cultural activities, offering a stage, lawn and food truck court to accommodate large social gatherings. Home to more than a few concerts and music festivals, such as Bailey Blues & Bluegrass and Sunset Thursdays, Bailey Park is an urban green space that brings diverse groups of people (and four-legged friends) together.

Examples of Key Programming:

Bailey Blues & Bluegrass ★
Innovation & Cinema ★
Food Truck Fridays with Winston>40 ★


Building community and promoting health can be one and the same. That’s why Innovation Quarter programming includes an emphasis on wellness. Our wellness programs make use of the green spaces of the Innovation Quarter—like yoga events in Bailey Park and direct access to the Long Branch Trail, a 1.7-mile bike and pedestrian pathway—as well as hosting events like the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic and the annual Winston-Salem Heart & Stroke Walk. Wellness activities are supported by partners like the Innovation Quarter YMCA, local yoga studios and wellness-oriented groups and organizations.

Examples of Key Programming:

Sunset Salutations: Yoga at Bailey Park ★
Walk and Roll Winston-Salem ★
Winston-Salem Cycling Classic


When two innovators meet, there’s no telling what will result. Engage with researchers, artists and other creative thinkers in the community through programs designed to stimulate connection and dialogue. Through special speakers, panels and networking events—both one-time or serial—encounter people you may never have met otherwise. Ongoing conversation events include Merge, a conversation on the intersections of art and science, and Venture Café Winston-Salem, a weekly gathering where ideas, innovators and investors collide.

Examples of Key Programming:

Venture Café Thursday Gatherings ★
Merge ★


Innovation comes through putting good ideas into action. The Innovation Quarter is full of activities that help start-ups take off and entrepreneurs of all sorts get their enterprises up-and-running. Forsyth Tech’s Small Business Center and Flywheel Coworking run intensive small business and entrepreneurship programs, while organizations like the Center for Creative Economy, New Ventures Accelerator and Syn(HER)gy support specific start-up opportunities. Other programs—like Mixxer, a grassroots maker movement gaining traction in the Innovation Quarter—welcome creators of all kinds and promote the burgeoning maker culture of Winston-Salem.

Examples of Key Programming:

Monday Nights with Mixxer
Idea Tap at Flywheel ★
Classes from the Forsyth Tech Small Business Center ★

Giving Back

The Innovation Quarter also partners with tenants and outside organizations to promote programming that gives back to the community. Our anchor program, SciTech Institute, is an enrichment program in science, technology, engineering, art and math for middle school students in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County schools that gives local organizations the chance to give back by hosting a STEAM event with SciTech. Other giving back programs in the Innovation Quarter include Girls on Fire, a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team, and the Inmar Community Tech Night, which offers free IT services and education to underserved areas of our city, and quarterly blood drives in partnership with the American Red Cross.

Examples of Key Programming:

SciTech Institute
Inmar Community Tech Night ★

Whether you’re a yogi, an entrepreneur or simply a food truck connoisseur, we invite you to explore the diverse programs happening here, and join our community of innovators.

Want to be in the loop? Subscribe to get updates on the latest programming and events in the Innovation Quarter.

Have opinions on programs or suggestions for a future event? Email us:

Related Stories

Big Hills and Even Bigger Dreams: How Winston-Salem Emerged as a National Cycling Hub

Juneteenth Festival: Honoring Sacrifice, Celebrating Community and Learning to Pay It Forward