The Chesapeake Arts Center is, once again, making waves in the community.
In September, it opened its new MakerSpace in the basement. One of the first projects out of the MakerSpace was partnering with University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) students to create toys for students at Ruth Parker Eason School.
“The MakerSpace project was valuable to my students in a couple ways,” said Alma Durm, whose class at Ruth Parker Eason received the toys. “Being in the space itself — we have a MakerSpace in our classroom, but it’s not as nice as theirs. They have all the bells and the whistles. So seeing what else is out there was very wonderful for my students and staff to see.”
Steven Bradley, a UMBC visual arts professor who helped establish the MakerSpace, said that he hopes the MakerSpace continues to give back to the community going forward.
“The MakerSpace is meant to really train community members on job opportunities,” Bradley explained. “If you want to look at it from a real practical point of view, for a community member, it could very well be the difference between retraining into a new job opportunity and finding ways of creating a business for yourself.”
The MakerSpace offers a variety of tools for members to use, including a woodshop, metal shop, silk screening, laser cutters and a computer lab. It also offers a variety of classes using each of those tools.
“What we’re trying to provide here is, first, a place where people can come and learn to use this stuff,” said Henry Scott, coordinator for the MakerSpace.
Though the MakerSpace can’t offer formal certifications, Scott said it can train basic and necessary skills.
“Some of the guys I had come through, they’ve never touched a power tool in their lives. The problem is they’re trying to get entry level positions in these jobs where it’s just assumed at one point everybody has skills with their hands,” Scott said. “Not all of them are going to go to college. What we’re trying to do is provide a jumping off point for them.”
To use the MakerSpace, you can either be a member or pay for a day pass. Member fees are $50 per month, or $510 per year. A day pass is $15. There are a variety of discounts for students, veterans and senior citizens.
For more information on the MakerSpace, visit www.chesapeakearts.org/makerspace.