Community Makerspaces: Fostering Collaboration

Author: Heather Robinson Hernandez

Community Makerspaces Are For Everyone

In the heart of our community sits our makerspace, a hub fostering creativity, innovation, and collaborative learning. Makerspaces, generally, are rich with tools, knowledge, and like-minded individuals, who breathe vitality into local communities, nurturing an atmosphere of exploration, growth, and possibility. Since Huerfano County’s Makerspace opening, we have steadily acquired more equipment and begun to build our network of local Makers through Maker Monday Meetups on the second Monday of every month. As we move into 2024, we look forward to the new pathways we’re able to trailblaze as we grow the Wheelhouse’s capabilities even more to serve all of the Huerfano community.

Makerspace Manager, Trevor Banks Repairing a CNC Machine

At their essence, community makerspaces are sanctuaries for individuals of all backgrounds, ages, and skill levels to gather, create, and learn. They provide access to an array of tools, from 3D printers to woodworking equipment, fostering an environment that transforms ideas into tangible creations. Beyond mere resources, they offer safe havens for exploration, experimentation, and, most importantly, collaboration. These are only some of the possibilities that lie ahead as the Wheelhouse mission gains momentum.

Just as communities evolve, so do Makerspaces. They dynamically adapt to the unique needs and aspirations of the people who frequent them. For instance, in an urban neighborhood, a makerspace might emphasize technology, providing resources for coding workshops or access to laser cutters, empowering local entrepreneurs in designing prototypes. Conversely, in a rural area, it might focus on preserving and passing down traditional skills like blacksmithing or quilting, vital elements of the local culture. This adaptability is what renders these spaces truly community-driven.

The Wheelhouse model relies on this type of community interaction to inform its growth and development model. Right now, we have some of the equipment often seen in urban environments and are slowly acquiring more traditional tools and equipment. We had a sewing machine donated and hope to grow our capacity as community members have expressed interest in sewing classes.

Monumental Impact Visits the Wheelhouse

Recently, we had the privilege of hosting Monumental Impact, a community space from Monument, Colorado who came for a tour of the Wheelhouse. Their program, dedicated to enabling and supporting high school students in Technology, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship, struck a chord. Their approach, fostering experiences in LEGO Robotics and 3D Printing and Design, resonated deeply, echoing the ethos of our makerspace here in our town.

Monumental Impact’s vision of providing shared spaces, coupled with resources and a vibrant community of mentors, aligns closely with our aspirations. It’s more than a partnership that they provide their community; it’s a collaboration brimming with possibilities for their community’s youth. Together, we envision our makerspace evolving into a beacon that nurtures creativity, a hub that sparks innovation, and a vibrant community catalyst for youth and adults alike.

Collaborative Educational Spaces

These collaborative educational spaces are not just about creation; they’re about cultivating resilient communities. They infuse life and energy into neighborhoods, becoming centers of activity and innovation that attract inquisitive minds, families, and local businesses. Moreover, their impact extends beyond their walls, inspiring community projects, from public art installations to maker fairs that unite people and shape the fabric of towns. For Trevor Banks, our Makerspace Manager, “Makerspaces are a melting pot of creativity and collaboration, where community members come together to spark innovation and fuel growth through shared knowledge and resources.”

In essence, community makerspaces transcend mere workshops; they are the lifeblood of community growth and creativity. They adapt to the changing needs of their communities, fostering networks and skills that empower individuals to innovate. They infuse vitality into neighborhoods, becoming indispensable assets for building more resilient, interconnected communities. So, whether you’re an aspiring artist, a tech enthusiast, or simply curious about the world of making, there’s a place for you in the welcoming and ever-evolving Wheelhouse Community Makerspace.  


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