Through this MeetUp, we are seeking like-minded people from Collinsville, Illinois (and nearby areas) who are interested in joining us to open an educational non-profit Makerspace in Collinsville Illinois for Madison County and the surrounding communities.
A Makerspace is a member funded collaborative workshop with an emphasis on the do-it-yourself mentality, woodworking, metalworking, technology, art, and generally fostering an environment of creativity collaboration. Members (usually makers and tinkerers) work on their own projects, assist or advise others who need help with their projects, work together to complete larger projects, and instruct others in areas where they have expertise. Members may host their own private events at the makerspace location as well. Workshops, presentations, and classes are commonplace as is the repurposing of materials that may find a second life in a new project. There is usually a workshop full of hand tools, power tools, and worktables, a classroom/meeting space, a cleaner area for technology work or meetings, and if possible a small kitchenette area for preparing and serving food during the occasional potluck or long sessions of creativity. The types of activities and the tools available depend on upon the decisions made by the membership and what may be found or donated. There are organizations like this in nearly every large city in the United States and most of the world and each one of them is unique. I have been a member of such an organization in St. Louis for over five years. In 2015, I served on the board of directors for that organization. Although it is only about a 20-minute drive from my home, I would like to see the community here in Collinsville gain the benefits such an organization could provide.
The target audience for a Makerspace is people or businesses owners who do not have enough space nor the budget to have a workshop full of tools at their disposal. They may currently be saving for and slowly building out such a workshop, but just don't have every tool they need at the moment. They likely have a craving to learn a new DIY skill but need a little help or inspiration getting their project off the ground. They may be an entrepreneur or new business owner with a need for the space and tools to develop and improve their business idea or product. I have spoken to a few people around town to introduce this concept and the response has been very positive so far.
If you live in Collinsville, Madison County, or the surrounding Metro East areas and have more questions or if you believe such an organization would benefit you, your business, or this community, please join this MeetUp or send a message to me privately. If you know of someone who you think may be a good candidate, please share this MeetUp with them. I would like to organize a visit and tour of the 5000 square foot makerspace / hackerspace in St. Louis and a smaller, newer Makerspace in St. Charles. Through this Meetup, I intend to hold in person meetings in Collinsville for those interested to further discuss the topic. Please be prepared to roll up your sleeves and work hard towards this goal, as starting such an organization is not an easy task, but it is a very rewarding experience.