6/16/16 Makers Exhibit

Makers Exhibit
Alamance featured at National Faire
By Anna Johnson, The Times-News 6/16/16  
Reprinted with permission.      

   A dozen Alamance County organizations have been tapped as a featured exhibit at the National Maker Faire.

   “It’s a really big honor,” said Ben Harris, founder of the Alamance Makers Guild/Burlington Mini Maker Faire. “All these organizations are working together across budgets, political lines and cultures to come together around creating 21st century jobs. That is what the Maker movement is all about — jobs and education.”

   The 12 organizations and 17 people will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the National Maker Faire this weekend at the University of the District of Columbia. The faire is part of the National Week of Making, which begins Friday and continues into next week.

   “It is a unique and exciting opportunity for an entire community to be represented at the National Maker Faire,” said Rachel Kelly, public information officer and Maker liaison for the city of Burlington. “The participants being represented at the faire have worked to build collaboration between many diverse partners to create a special ecosystem in which Makers can unlock their potential and thrive. We hope that the presence of the Burlington community at the National Maker Faire will inspire other midsized cities to apply this model in their own communities.”

   The exhibit is meant to showcase Burlington as a mid-sized city that has embraced the Maker movement and the collaborative nature of the community as it works to create new jobs, revitalize manufacturing, create ways to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and recreational making, Harris said.

   This is the second National Maker Faire. Harris said he was invited to the inaugural faire, where he talked about his business and how he’d hoped the Maker movement would create a Maker community.

   “It was the logical next step to actually show the community and how Burlington has become a model,” he said.

   The exhibit will feature representatives and projects from the following organizations:

  • The Alamance Makers Guild
  • The Burlington Mini Maker Faire
  • STEAM Junction Makerspace
  • Alamance-Burlington School System: B.E. Jordan Elementary Makerspace
  • ABSS: Graham Middle School Innovation Lab Makerspace
  • Alamance Community College: STEM programs including their Laser Cutter in advertising and graphic design
  • Elon University: Maker Hub
  • Alamance County Library System: Maker and STEM Programming
  • Blessed Sacrament School of Burlington: Makerspace and STREAM Program
  • Alamance Arts: The “A” in STEAM
  • Front Street Properties: Developing new opportunities for business in downtown Burlington
  • The city of Burlington: Mayor and Maker Ian Baltutis

   Local participants in the national faire will be on hand at an open house at STEAM Junction in downtown Burlington on the final day of the National Week of Making to share their experiences from the National Maker Faire with the community. It will be from 5 to 9 p.m. June 23.

   Burlington City Council also agreed to partner with Harris’ group to create an Alamance County Maker Round Table sometime this fall to discuss the Maker movement locally.