The Innovation Revolution: Maker Faire Rhode Island
By Kipp Bradford
My first visit to Rhode Island was in 1990. I vividly remember getting off I-95 at the downtown Providence exit, and being confronted by a multi-story pile of dirt. I became lost as I wandered beneath the highway overpasses unable to find the heart of the city. Almost twenty years later, that pile of dirt is long gone, replaced by new buildings and new community. But this spirit of fostering innovation from what Bert Crenca of AS220 has called the “compost heap” of art, design, technology, science and more, has come to define my experience as a Rhode Islander.
Maker Faire is a celebration of that spirit and the impact it has on peoples’ lives, in addition to being a showcase for the cool projects people are working on in their garages and gardens, kitchens and basements, work rooms and community centers. As an affiliate of MAKE Magazine and Maker Faire, we are bringing this event to Rhode Island and New England to gather together our community of Makers and practitioners of Do-It-Yourself. Our goal is to catalyze sharing of ideas, make connections between those with similar interests, and create opportunities for learning technology through a series of workshops at Slater Mill, where innovation starts.
Maker Faire Rhode Island consists of a series of events coordinated with other partner organizations:
- We begin with a kickoff party September 6th, during the Rocktucket Block Party, part of the Pawtucket Arts Festival.
- Then we move to the Steel Yard in Providence, on September 12th for the organization’s Iron Chef fundraiser.
- From September 14th through the 17th, we have hands-on D.I.Y. Workshops in Pawtucket at the Slater Mill, a building and museum steeped in the history of industry and innovation in this country. We’ll wrap up the workshops with a celebration at Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket.
- Moving back to Providence, we’ll meet the Makers at JTJ Investment’s Eco Office, at 27 Walcott St. This is the only “Net-Zero” office building in Rhode Island, and is the new home to Alteris Renewables. Finally, Makers will showcase their projects, gadgets, inventions, products, designs, technologies, fancy foods, and much more at the Maker Faire at Waterfire. With an audience ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 attendees, we expect to have a fantastic family friendly event.
The Iron Chef fundraiser requires a ticket purchase. All other events are free to attend. Workshop instructors may provide kits for sale at the Slater Mill D.I.Y. Workshops.
I look forward to making all sorts of cool stuff with you!
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