People to Watch | Jane Dagmi, High Point X Design, Managing Director

Jane Dagmi and her colleagues are on a mission to make High Point, N.C., a year-round hub of design and creativity through educational programming, networking and educational events.

As managing director of High Point X Design, Dagmi’s task is to connect the dots between the design community, the city of High Point and the people who live there. The city itself is in the middle of a rebranding effort to draw more national attention to its resources in music, design and craftsmanship.

“We’re getting to be a rich, cultural city,” said Dagmi, who joined the organization earlier this year. “It’s interesting to be in a city where design and civics meet.”

HAT People to Watch logo_WebTraditionally, the design neighborhoods of High Point are papered over and dark during the 10 months of the year when a market is not taking place. “We want to change that,” Dagmi said. It takes a lot of dedication and patience to change a tradition that’s been in place for a century, she added, but HPXD is getting there.

The group has held monthly Design Days in which showroom members are open to designers, as well as educational events, training seminars and behind-the-scenes tours of local furniture makers. It is considering hosting a conference next year and possible “mini markets,” which Dagmi described as one- or two-day “low key” events that do not compete with High Point Market but give designers another opportunity to shop.

The group has 45 members so far. Members, most of whom are interior designers, must have some sort of physical presence in High Point, from a flagship showroom to “an unattached garage where they are making fine furniture,” Dagmi said. It is trying to diversify the group to attract more members, she added. It is also trying to engage the greater High Point community in various activities. For example, in October it is planning a painting activity at the local farmer’s market to get residents to come out and paint, and a possible sculpture-making project.

“High Point X Design offers the space and time for more connection, which is so important,” said Dagmi. “It’s about networking and drawing lines between all these amazing groups in the city.”

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