FEB 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 16 CONVENTION CENTERS Winston-Salem's downtown district is home to the 105,000-square-foot convention center affectionately known as The Benton. Having recently completed a multi-phase, multi-mil- lion-dollar transformation, the center adds "flexibility, function and improvements driven by direct input from respected meeting planners and attendees, and enhancements reflecting the latest industry trends and forward-thinking concepts," said Christian Schroeder, director of sales and services at Visit Winston-Salem. "Far more than a simple facelift, the new Benton provides a smart en- vironment designed to stimulate creativity and thoughtful outputs." Showcasing the destination's rich culture founded in the arts and steeped in Southern history, The Benton celebrates its distinctive roots and offers attendees an immersive experience delving into the heart of Winston-Salem's artistic personality. "That vibrancy and appreciation of the arts continues into the reinvented Benton," Schroeder said. "Beyond the inventive structural improvements of the center, a team of art aficionados painstakingly reviewed cus- tom pieces from numerous North Carolina-based artists, selecting those that best portrayed the cultural influences and artistic vibrancy of the desti- nation. True to the city's moniker as The City of Arts and Innovation, The Benton's interior would be the perfect canvas for regional artistic influences. The commissioned art on display throughout the center boldly reflects the diversity, ingenuity and creativity for which Win- ston-Salem is known." The design of the con- vention center pays tribute to the city's Southern roots, includ- ing a nod to the arts, and the tobacco and textile industries. "These cel- ebrations of our colorful history are wo- ven seamlessly into a splendid modern facil- ity that embraces downtown Winston-Salem through shimmering walls of glass allow- ing natural light, and an interior design that encourages engagement and dynamic interac- tion," Schroeder said. "The installation of the building's sawtooth roofline and reclaimed wood accents provide an architectural nod and historic symbol of Winston-Salem's innovative, entrepreneurial spirit. Smarter still is enhanced technology that provides more functionality, as well as the capability for more advanced presentations." The Benton also offers convenience, he said, because it is directly connected to the Twin City Quarter, which features 450 hotel rooms and two enclosed skywalks in addition to abundant parking for attendees. Organizers and attendees of the 2017 Annual Meeting of Association Executives of North Carolina (AENC) were inspired by their surroundings at The Benton and empha- sized the center's contribution to a successful event. "From beginning to end, the AENC Annual Meeting, held in Winston-Salem, exceeded my expectations," said Susan Giver Nelson, CMP, CAE, executive director of SeaPerch and president of AENC. "The décor of the new convention center space was well beyond a typical convention center and the event space worked well. The culinary expe- rience throughout the weekend was creative, delicious and plentiful, and we enjoyed excel- lent service. I have heard nothing but positive comments from our members and that means success!" n Showcasing the Destination's Culture The Benton Convention Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina Visit Winston-Salem

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