Why This Matters:
- By backing this project, you are backing a mission: to support underrepresented groups with access to a safe, inclusive, free creative studio.
- All are welcome, however, our focus is providing a space for women, people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, and the economically disadvantaged.
- We have submitted and are waiting for our 501c3 paperwork to be approved, which has been delayed because of the government shutdown.
- While this paperwork is being processed, this campaign is one of the ways in which we are fundraising.
- If successful, this Kickstarter will pay the rent for a year, allowing us to continue to serve our community.
As seen on Make Magazine's "Cool Crowdfunding" Feature:
We Are All Makers:
Your support will help fund a radical approach to community makerspaces: a free, donation-based creative studio, fabrication lab, and coworking space. Our mission is to be an ally for underserved and underrepresented makers - to empower the people.
Donations will help us provide access to a safe and inclusive environment for making, with digital fabrication tools, materials, training, and flexible workspaces. We believe that everyone, regardless of financial situation, ethnicity, or orientation should have access to the powerful ideas and tools of the Maker Movement. We aim to support our community makers in their entrepreneurial endeavors.
If you think now is the time to counteract historical, systemic practices that have created racial and economic exclusivity, then please help us realize the potential of all Makers, and donate today!
We have the space. We have the equipment. We have the people. All we need now -- is you!
Our funding goal is $25,000, which will cover the cost of rent for a full year. Your donation will help keep our doors open for those who are being left out of opportunities made possible by the Maker Movement.
Breaking Down Barriers:
As makers and educators in the Austin area, we have witnessed an alarming disparity in our schools, neighborhoods, and the creative community.
The economic marginalization in our segregated city is rooted in racial inequality, and as the city grows, equity and access for people of color continue to diminish at an alarming pace.
Since complacency only prolongs this problem, we have come together to develop a workspace for creators of color and anyone who has been denied access to what more privileged makers take for granted: space, tools, technology, materials, and support.
In other words, while the Maker Movement has made great strides in lowering barriers to entry for the various tools for making, it has largely fallen short in democratizing access to the spaces for making.
What used to be the domain of professional designers, programmers, and engineers is now freely available for hobbyists, enthusiasts, and students. Even though it’s easier now for someone to laser cut a design, there are still marginalized communities that can’t access and take advantage of these benefits.
Making is the great equalizer because we are all intrinsically curious and creative. Everyone can be a maker and innovator. We all bring our personal knowledge, perspective, and voice to the table. But what happens if you’re not invited to the table? Not only does the table lack diversity in thought, there are integral innovators who are not being heard.
Our goal is to support makers of all backgrounds as they develop into self-reliant creators and active participants in the Maker Movement. We promise to be allies who break down historical and economic barriers so that innovators of color and other underrepresented groups are more recognized as an essential part of Austin’s creative community.
Cynthia A. Ayala is a bilingual educator of 19 years and a co-founder of a biliteracy, makerspace for children. She is an advocate for students with special needs and students who are marginalized by systemic racism. Her life’s goal is to make a difference in the world by empowering others through education.
Patrick Benfield is a maker educator with 12 years of teaching experience and the founding director of two educational makerspaces. He is also a lead Maker Mentor for The University of Texas at Austin UTeach fellowship, a Thinkery EdExchange Senior Fellow, the Education Coordinator for Maker Faire Austin, and a contributing author in Meaningful Making by the Stanford FabLearn Fellows.
Elizabeth Mikeska is a bilingual school librarian with 17 years of experience as a public educator. She implemented a makerspace in her library which serves at-risk youth from grades PreK - 5th. Her passion is connecting literacy and innovation to promote meaningful learning experiences and student agency. She is also the co-founder a biliteracy, makerspace for children.
Da'Mon Stith is a founding member of Cry Havoc Action Choreography, the sword instructor at BookPeople's Camp Half-Blood, the Chief Instructor and Founder of Guild of the Silent Sword, co-founder of Street Forge Armoury, and the president of HAMAA (Historical African Martial Arts Association) an organization he founded in 2016 dedicated to the research and reconstruction of lost fighting arts from Africa and the African Diaspora. His days are spent training and educating others in the warrior traditions of Ancient and Medieval African arts and fabricating historical and fantasy weapons.
Risks and challenges
We have the team, materials, and equipment taken care of. What we will need beyond this is active members, donors, and volunteers to help sustain the long-term viability of our space. We can't be a community makerspace without the community.
- (30 days)