6 Reasons Why Our 2013 Call for Makers KickOff *Rocked*

This will be year #4 for the East Bay Mini Maker Faire, and for the first time we held a Town Hall to kick off the Call for Makers. Turnout was amazing—over 100 people attended and yes, THE CALL FOR MAKERS IS NOW OPEN. But so much else happened!

1.  The Mayor Spoke.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan came by to give us her well-wishes and to announce that the City of Oakland has been chosen to host the 2nd annual Urban Manufacturing Alliance conference. The UMA is a national association working “to grow manufacturing businesses, create living wage jobs and catalyze sustainable localized economies.” Meaning it’s an organization created to promote maker businesses.  The conference will be in early October, just before the fair.

2. The Makers mingled.

So many connections made last night!  I personally witnessed The Crucible meeting the Lawrence Hall of Science for the first time.  WikiSeat met Claremont Middle School.  Makers with scrap plywood met makers with a need for scrap plywood.  And on and on!

3. Oakland Makers launched.

A stellar lineup of some of Oakland’s most influential makers (Karen Cusolito/American Steel,  Hiroko Kurihara/25th Street Collective, Leslie Pritchett/AmSteel&Crucible, Steven Young/The Crucible, Margot Prado/City of Oakland Economic Development Dept., Michael Snook/NIMBY makerspace) introduced Oakland Makers, a new organization meant to better position and articulate the value-add of Makers specializing in the industrial arts, applied technology, artisan production, custom manufacturing and education. The have galvanized as a group to:
• increase the visibility of Oakland’s manufacturing and industrial arts,
• sustain the ability of these sectors to operate and thrive,
• grow Oakland’s diverse creative economy.
Sign up on their mailing list to get involved and learn more.

4. The Makers took the mic.

We also had an opportunity for everyone to come up and introduce themselves. Folks lined up and shared their name, their organization, and what they make. So cool to hear the diversity of the makers in the room, the numbers of new people finding a place interested in participating, and the continuing support and presence of the superstars of the East Bay maker scene.

5. American Steel Studios inspired.

It’s hard to express the scale of both the facility and operation of American Steel Studios. It is SIX ACRES in size, and at least a hundred makers call it their home away from home. Founder Karen Cusolito gave two tours of the facility. If you missed it, check this New York Times article—and watch for a profile piece about to come out in Metropolis magazine.

6. Tacos and fine beer were had.

Many thanks to the City of Oakland’s Economic and Workforce Development Department for providing delicious sustenance. And to Line 51 brewing company for flowing some delicious beer. Quality, local food and beverages really do make for quality mingling.

THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR COMING OUT!  Thanks especially to Karen and American Steel for hosting. Thanks to the strong showing by Park Day School volunteers (Park Day School is the organizing entity behind the volunteer-run East Bay Mini Maker Faire, if you didn’t know). And to our venue partners, the City of Oakland’s Studio One Art Center.

Don’t forget to get your maker, performer and presenter applications in early—and please share the Call with your extended community.

If last night is any indication, year four is going to be fantastic. 

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