An equitable educational and economical resource, The Mid-Valley STEM CTE Hub believes that makerspaces are an important part of a community.
Community makerspaces not only offer valuable enrichment classes on topics like how to use power tools or how to screenprint, they also provide affordable space and equipment to use for up-and-coming small business owners and offer hands-on educational experiences to local students (often for credit) in places where they may otherwise not have access to industrial facilities.
Makerspaces are also great places to build community. Often makerspaces are run like your local gym. Patrons pay a monthly membership in return for having free range of the facility and the equipment it has to offer. This is a place where makers and tinkerers can meet, build relationships, collaborate, and offer support. Makerspaces are unique spaces that nurture creative thinking and open doors for new opportunities.
MVSCH recently was lucky enough to have our team travel to Talent, OR to visit our friends at Talent Maker City. Talent Maker City is a makerspace that has been in operation for 5 years, and in that time has not only provided accessible space for community education, they have also been a leader that has held Talent and surrounding communities together in recent times of crisis. In 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, they used their facilities and 3-D printers to create PPE equipment. Later on in 2020 their HQ was a hub for resources when a large portion of their town was taken by wildfires
Makerspaces are not only a place to use a bandsaw or print art onto t-shirts; they are places that pave the way to healthier, more inclusive, and more prosperous communities.
What is a makerspace?
So what exactly is a makerspace? A makerspace is a public space that is home to all types of tools from carpentry equipment and ceramics materials, to media studios and robotics labs. Each makerspace offers unique tools and materials to suit the needs of its particular community. Makerspaces are hubs of education: they will offer classes and have staff on hand to help patrons learn to use the equipment offered. An important feature of makerspaces is that they are accessible to any community member that is interested in participating.
Interested in starting a makerspace of your own?
Check out this helpful how-to guide, A Brief Guide to Starting a Makerspace by Forrest Johnson.
Need more inspiration?
Talent Maker City (Talent, OR) and Spark Labs (Eugene, OR) are great examples of what makerspaces can provide to the communities they serve.
Why Your Community Needs A Makerspace (creationcrate.com)
Benefits of Makerspaces in Small Communities (mangolanguages.com)