In June 2014, President Obama launched the Nation of Makers initiative, an “all-hands-on-deck call to make sure more students, entrepreneurs and Americans of all backgrounds have access to a new class of technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters and desktop machine tools that are enabling more Americans to design, build and manufacture just about anything.”
The “maker movement” leverages digital technologies to remake manufacturing and job skills while simultaneously reconnecting us to our roots in creative problem-solving. “We’ve seen the maker movement have true economic impact in communities around the country,” said Santa Fe Mayor Javier M. Gonzales. “We know a maker-space is one of the key ingredients in fostering a positive entrepreneurial environment, manifesting creative business opportunities and keeping pace with developing technologies.”
As so many of us are aware, Santa Fe has a strong creative force running through it. With a world-famous arts enclave and world-class scientific institutions, the region is home to generations of some of the most creative artists, craftspeople and writers in the world, as well as innovators and scientists.
Last spring, Mayor Gonzales met with local business leaders for a strategy session and pledged to have a community maker-space in Santa Fe within a year. “We found the right people to make that happen, the right deliverables to ask for, and now we’re making it real,” he said.
Most of us have interesting things in the garage (if we have a garage), from power tools to old clothes and books, but the new maker-space in Santa Fe is much better than a garage full of old tools. From laser cutters to welders, it has all kinds of tools to help your creative spirit soar. Typical shop tools and soldering stations are available, as well as 3D printers, sewing machines and basic equipment for working with fabric; plus computers with software for modeling and design.
“MAKE Santa Fe” is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community workspace where people can make, repair, invent or create anything they can dream. “It’s like a gym, but with powerful tools instead of exercise equipment, and skilled craftspeople instead of personal trainers,” said Zane Fischer, the local coordinator-at-large. The organization’s board is diverse and local. MAKE Santa Fe is eager to support entrepreneurs, tinkerers and the creatively spirited with a fully stocked studio where it is okay to experiment and collaborate. The workspace is open to all members of the community. Memberships provide full access to the shops and equipment, invitations to events, meetings and workshops, plus inclusion in a members’ directory. Use of complex equipment, however, requires completion of a paid orientation. Membership for individuals or students costs $65 a month, but scholarships can be requested. Family memberships are available for two parents and up to three children under 19 for $100 per month. Small, private, personal workspaces are also available for rent for $200 per month.
Other maker-spaces in New Mexico include FUSE at the STEMulus Center at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, QueLab in Albuquerque, Tech Toolbox in Taos and the Parachute Factory in Las Vegas.
This year, “National Week of Making” is June 17-23. The National Maker Faire is June 18-19 in Washington, D.C. This spring, the U.S. Department of Education also launched the “Career Technical Education (CTE) Makeover Challenge” on the East Coast to encourage high schools to offer maker-spaces for students. Educators, administrators and parents, as well as business and government, are invited to make and support the Maker’s Promise, which is “a pledge for K-12 leaders to support their students by dedicating a space for making, designating a champion for making, and displaying the results of making, noting that “participating schools will then have access to a suite of resources to enable them to empower students to be makers of things, not just consumers.”
NMCareers.org is highlighting MAKE Santa Fe as a regional asset for innovation and inspiration. To learn more, visit https://makesantafe.org/ or just stop by and make something! The organization is located at 1352 Rufina Circle, at the popular new Meow Wolf, in midtown Santa Fe. Current hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 12-8 p.m. 505.395.5858, email@example.com