LETTER: Vision for ‘makerspace’ was inspired by islanders’ desire to learn, share

Thanks to Bob Powell for raising important issues in last week’s letter (“Bainbridge BARN could provide inspiration for VCA, Feb. 7). The Vashon Makerspace organization was inspired by Vashon Islanders’ desire to learn and share. We are motivated by Bainbridge’s great work on their BARN facility. We are working steadily to advance something similar, but a Vashon version.

Makerspaces of all kinds are being created everywhere. They are conceived as centers of education and innovation for their community, where people with varying skills can come together to teach, learn, innovate and build with shared knowledge, experience, tools and equipment. They include resources like woodshops, technology labs and teaching spaces, but the design always grows out of the needs, knowledge and experience of the community.

To get it right we must build relationships with many key constituencies on our island. One critical group is our arts community, so we are working with the VCA as well as individual arts practitioners to get their input on what a resource like this can provide to our community and how their work can interact with ours.

We are also engaged with King County Libraries, Vashon Be Prepared, Island Greentech, Vashon Veterans, Vashon School District and others. The goal is to create a makerspace that is ideally suited to the island of Vashon and meets the needs /ambitions of our community. It’s not easy to do, but it can be done.

We will be hosting a community meeting on March 10, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Methodist church to gather input that will shape the future of this resource. We invite members of the community who have an interest in this project to show up and share their ideas. This event will move us one step closer to creating a truly great resource for our community. For more information, email info@vashonmakerspace.org.

— Steve Graham and Neil Wiesblott

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