(top photo by Chris Meringolo)
I'm the volunteer coordinator of the Providence Mini Maker Faire. This Faire is sponsored by the City of Providence as part of PVDFEST, and produced through AS220, a non-profit, unjuried, uncensored, all-ages center for the arts in Providence. AS220 will use that money to cover costs such as tents, signs, and show supplies. They will also be sending paid staff to support me at the Faire. If anything's left over from the budget supplied by the city, it will go toward AS220's programs and mission.
There are some things that I do as volunteer coordinator that aren't strictly necessary to make the Faire happen, but they make it so much better.
For example, I have been making 3D-printed and CNC'd maker badges to act as collectible exhibitor credentials for the makers who exhibit. To do this, I need to purchase supplies (3D printer filament, HDPE sheets, bearings) and also cover the cost of maintaining and upgrading the machines I use to make the badges.
Because I use these machines and supplies for other things throughout the year, it doesn't feel right for me to expense these costs against the budget supplied by the city. Those other things include a handful of workshops or demonstrations for young makers throughout the year. So your support will not only make it possible for me to bring a Mini Maker Faire to Providence, but it will make other activities that are extensions of the Faire happen throughout the year.
This year, the simple exhibitor badge is much more; it's also a fidget spinner. And we're signaling our name change from Rhode Island Mini Maker Faire to Providence Mini Maker Faire (and the fact that we're part of PVDFEST!) by adding "PVD" to the design. As a supporter, you can get one too!
Risks and challenges
The challenges of the Faire are numerous. Our biggest challenge would come from the weather. Because we are holding the event outdoors, a bad storm could cause us to postpone the Faire until we are able to find a good time to hold it later in the year.
The hardest part of putting on this event is making everything come together over the course of day: we have setup early in the morning, the event itself, and breakdown/load-out. Because we're a small team, a forgotten extension cord or lamp can cause us to lose a key person's time for an hour or more. We address this by making lists, checking them twice, and bringing extra things (because stuff breaks, too).
The other obstacle is making sure we have the right makers to exhibit and create engaging experiences. Without a set of compelling exhibitors, we'd have a pretty boring event. Fortunately, the team members have wide and complementary networks of friends and collaborators to draw on, and we've already got over 18 makers committed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (17 days)