How City Funding and CNM Support Helped This Artist Develop His Local Non-Profit

Mitch Berg is a well-known artist and he’s now running a school in the South Valley that teaches art and fabrication skills
February 04, 2021

Mitch Berg knows how to do everything from blow glass to weld metal. He’s taught himself these skills over a successful 25-year art career and has made pieces for public spaces and private collectors alike. 

But when the Rio Grande Community Development Corporation offered to help Mitch launch a South Valley non-profit that teaches art and fabrication skills, he needed to skill up. He wasn’t familiar with business best practices and didn’t have time to teach himself everything he needed to know. 

That’s when he came across CNM’s Ignite the FUSE, an Ingenuity-run program that helps creative entrepreneurs refine and enhance their business acumen. During the 10-week program, participants received help with everything from marketing to fundraising to strategies for scaling operations. Ignite is one of many programs offered by CNM Ingenuity to support small businesses and startups

Mitch also connected with Job Training Albuquerque, a workforce development program that helps small business owners gain necessary skills and grow their businesses so they can add jobs and bring on new employees. JTA, which is a partnership between the City of Albuquerque and CNM with program funding provided by the City of Albuquerque Economic Development Department, allows employers to send employees through CNM trainings for free. 

JTA covered all of Mitch’s fees when he went through Ignite last year. He says the program quickly allowed him to refine his business approach. “I was so used to doing everything myself that it was really refreshing to have all that help,” Mitch says. 

Before Ignite, Mitch had started working with another non-profit called Best Chance to run several 60-hour apprenticeships for men who were formerly incarcerated and wanted job training. He plans to continue those apprenticeships, but is also working with a South Valley health clinic to offer shorter training programs for folks recovering from drug addiction. His plan is to provide useful skills and introduce as many people as possible to the power of art. 

“People need to know that art and fabrication can help you make money and find a career, but art is also an important form of therapy and can really help people who are struggling,” he says. 

When the pandemic is over, Mitch wants to go back to the FUSE Makerspace to keep learning. Most of his Ignite program was online and he wants to spend more time in the building to study how FUSE approaches everything from pedagogy to safety. 

“I’ve felt very supported both as a student and as a community member and I’m excited to continue my relationship with CNM,” Mitch says. 

Learn more about Mitch’s art here