Mankato Makerspace offers space to practice the arts

Non-profit organization lends workshop and tools to anyone interested

Maria Ly
Staff Writer

The Mankato Makerspace opened its doors February of 2018 to a vast group of creators offering them a workspace to weld, build, sculpt, paint, and much more.

With the growing culture in Mankato, places like the Makerspace is an evolutionary business that helps and encourage the growth of art and artists here in town. Joseph Herke, a cofounder and ceramics department shop lead, found that he had no place for ceramics and woodworking after obtaining his undergrad and graduate degree at Minnesota State University, Mankato. With no place to create and hone his craft, it inspired him to join a group of individuals to get the Makerspace up and running to keep pursuing his deep passion for art.

He states, “It’s very important to have a workspace for artist here in Mankato because it allows people to do their craft and their art. The whole idea behind this is making it accessible for everybody. It’s important to support the artists and the art community in Mankato because that’s what enriches us as a community and actually gives our town some culture. I think it’s important to embrace what people are doing, especially through their work and who these individuals are, because that’s what makes us as a community.”

When becoming a member, benefits outweigh the cost states Herke. “For 50 dollars to come in, you have a roof, you have the space, you have your heating and cooling, and you have access to all the tools. It’s unbelievable!”

Herke continues, “If you pay that (monthly) membership, you’re able to use the wood shop, the metal shop, and the ceramics shop. They have access to all these different shops, so it allows them to be creative instead of just one specific avenue and apply it to whatever they want to build.”

Along with providing a space, they also have workshops and classes for community members to learn new skills such as ceramics, welding, woodshop, glass torching, crocheting, painting, leather projects, printmaking, etc. Herke says, “Anybody can teach at the Mankato Makerspace. Right now it’s mostly shop leads and members that are teaching these classes. If you want to teach a class you just have to write up a small proposal and that would just include what you want to teach, what area or kind of space is needed for that class, and the pricing.”

Mankato Makerspace also hosts an array of events from Tuesday open houses and jam sessions to “Maker Markets” where members can exhibit in the venue for free every last Sunday of each month.

They are also hosting the Midwest Art Catalyst again this year with a party and silent auction with donated art pieces from local and national artists to be sold for a local nonprofit. Coming up in the next month is the Mankato Makerspace birthday party to celebrate the successful first year of the creative business.

Herke wants everybody to know, “All are welcome. If you are a student, faculty member, or staff member you should come and check it out. If you always wanted to make something but didn’t know how, you can come take a class. If you already know what you want to make, but don’t have a place to make it, come and check it out.”

The Makerspace is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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