I’ve been hanging out with hobbyists, closet tinkerers, garage entrepreneurs, and technology professionals in South Florida for years, sharing creative ideas and progress on side projects. I did it because I loved technology and creative experimentation. Most of our hang-outs were at restaurant and retail businesses which were great for meeting, but not for the project build sessions that were the natural evolution of our discussions.
Over the past three years, South Florida has experienced a surge of maker activity, marking a renaissance for South Florida’s Maker Movement. We’ve experienced the opening of MakerSquare, Broward County’s first makerspace; the launch of Makeshop Miami, Mano Americas, Moonlighter Makerspace, and Miami Industrial Arts in Miami-Dade; and the first Make: Magazine Summer Maker Camp for Teens, organized by Startup Delray and Palm Beach LED. Not to mention popularizing robotics programs like FIRST, the creation of the International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Synposium, schools public and private embracing experiential hands-on learning and the creation of three Mini Maker Faires in Miami, with the last event drawing over 5000 people over two days to the National Young Arts Foundation building in downtown Miami. And tomorrow, we’ll break ground on the first annual Palm Beach Mini Maker Faire showcasing over 60 local makers over a wide variety of disciplines.
Maker Faire was conceived by San Francisco-based Make Media as a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. Branded as The Greatest Show (& Tell) On Earth, Maker Faires all over the world have demonstrated the popularity of making and interest among legions of aspiring makers to participate in hands-on activities and learn new skills at the event.
Make Media describes the events like so:
Maker Faire is primarily designed to be forward-looking, showcasing makers who are exploring new forms and new technologies. But it’s not just for the novel in technical fields; Maker Faire features innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft.
Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. It’s a venue for makers to show examples of their work and interact with others about it. Many makers say they have no other place to share what they do. DIY (Do-It-Yourself) is often invisible in our communities, taking place in shops, garages and on kitchen tables. It’s typically out of the spotlight of traditional art or science or craft events. Maker Faire makes visible these projects and ideas that we don’t encounter every day.
To celebrate the Maker Movement, Maker Faire will be in Palm Beach County on May 14, 2016, through a partnership between Hacklab and the South Florida Science Center. I can’t tell you how excited I am to work on this event with the team at the Science Center and look forward to sharing what we’ve been working on for the past six months. If you haven’t made plans, here is a taste of what you can expect to see!