Imagine A Makerspace In Wheat Ridge

Kate Cooke is the Executive Director of LocalWorks

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Have you ever wanted a place where you can find the tools you need and maybe a group of people that know how to do interesting stuff and have amazing mad skills that you can collaborate with to create new and wonderful things? Yeah…us too!

We want to put together a place like that in Wheat Ridge. A place where technology, tools, teaching, art and collaboration come together and results in creativity, innovation and community. This place is called a makerspace.

Before I jump into all the great things a makerspace can be, let me tell you how we got here.

In 2019, Localworks and the City of Wheat Ridge partnered to complete a preliminary feasibility analysis for an ArtSpace project. ArtSpace is an amazing organization that builds and operates affordable housing for artists. To guide this analysis, a group of local creators and partners was formed and the analysis was undertaken and completed. You can learn more about that process on our website. As a result, we learned a lot about creators and makers in Wheat Ridge!

First, the ArtSpace analysis group got to tour the Loveland ArtSpace project and see how great this type of project can be in a community. The group also got to tour the Loveland Creatorspace, which is a makerspace. The group immediately saw how important a makerspace is in the success of not only an ArtSpace project but in the promotion of art, creatives and business innovation in a community. It was an exciting day for this group!

Second, after the tour of the Loveland makerspace, Milly Nadler, with the Wheat Ridge Cultural Commission, reached out and offered to donate tools to Localworks for the creation of a makerspace in memory of her late husband Peter Marks. Peter was a prolific and creative maker who was into welding, woodworking, ceramics, art, technology, innovation – you name it. We feel honored to be the recipient of this amazingly generous donation which has created the spark and the momentum to create a makerspace in Wheat Ridge.

Third, a tour of the TinkerMill Makerspace in Longmont led to a partnership between TinkerMill and Localworks to help create a makerspace in Wheat Ridge. This partnership is allowing Localworks to leverage Milly’s amazing donation of tools with TinkerMill’s boots-on-the-ground expertise in the development and operation of a makerspace. Win-win!

So, now let’s talk about makerspaces! What is a makerspace, you ask? A makerspace is a place with all the tools you need, or might need, to really let loose your innovative side. Tools like welding equipment, blacksmithing, woodworking, work stations with 3D printers, laser cutters, textile tools like industrial sewing machines and computer-driven embroidery machines, recording studios, video editing equipment, soldering stations, lapidary tools, electronics and robotic stations, a private cloud system (think: your own personal datacenter) and a classroom full of people all week long who are learning and teaching subjects ranging from synthetic biology to autonomous drones to Arduino robotics programming to good costume design techniques. Maybe even a class where you and your kids can learn together. A place where ideas blossom, innovation happens, businesses start and expand, and our community grows and prospers.

You can learn more about makerspaces on our website. You can experience one firsthand by heading up to TinkerMill – The Longmont Makerspace – to see a real, live makerspace that has been in operation for over 10 years.

We’re just getting started on this journey and we want to invite you to join us! We’re having our first official meeting Aug. 24. At these meetings, we will brainstorm possible locations for a makerspace and start identifying the makers and creators who will be part of this makerspace. Until we get our own building, we’re meeting at Stylus and Crate, 6985 W. 38th Ave., here in Wheat Ridge.

Questions or want to talk more? Email Kate Cooke: kcooke@wearelocalworks.org

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