Mar 1, 2014

Nonprofit hoping to build Watertown Makerspace

Excerpted from Watertown Daily Times
By David Brazy

A local nonprofit organization is in the beginning stages of a plan to open a “makerspace” in
Watertown to provide area residents a place to create anything they can imagine.

Sustain Jefferson is currently searching for a location to open up the Watertown MakerSpace
sometime this year. People might be asking themselves, what exactly is a “makerspace”? Well,
put simply, it is a community space where members can come to make things from woodworking,
metal works, quilts, paintings, sailboats, earrings and anything else one can think of.

But organizers are hoping, in addition to being a workshop, the “makerspace” will also be a
common place where the community can come together to share their skills and learn from others.

“We think its a concept that people are familiar with. It’s a community workshop for people to
share equipment and resources and ideas, and for people to come to learn and teach,” Sustain
Jefferson President Amy Rinard said. “We hope it will be a community gathering place where
people will come to be with other people who like to make stuff like they do.”

Sustain Jefferson board member Greg David said the idea to create a “makerspace” came from
one of the group’s brainstorming sessions three years ago. The idea continued to be kicked around
until the group applied for a grant from the Earl and Eugenia Quirk Foundation, which the group
received in January.

Rinard said the foundation asked to keep the amount of the donation private, but she added the
funding allowed Sustain Jefferson to hit the ground running with the idea.

“It is very generous and sizable enough to get the ‘makerspace’ project off the ground and provide
operating funds for most of the year,” Rinard said.

David said the group is hoping to find a space large enough to house three separate spaces, a
workshop for woodworking and metal works, a room for crafts like sewing and painting, and a coworking
space.

Rinard said the co-working area would be an office setting where people who are
self-employed or run small businesses can come and use the “makerspace’s” high-speed Internet,
printer and rooms to meet with clients and customers.

“They can also talk with each other about ideas. In fact businesses’ ideas have even developed out
of ‘makerspaces’ in other areas. So there is that economic development angle to the project,”
Rinard said.

Read the full article.

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