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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Maker House makes spaces for all artisans

    Grace Pierson
    Grace Pierson/ The Daily Wildcat Maker House, on Stone and Toole Ave., offers a place to study, meet up with friends, and even offers open mic nights, and can also be rented out for parties and events.

    We live in a generation when everything is fabricated — but an artistic venue in Tucson may just shake up the way we create things. That’s the aim of Maker House, part of the Downtown Tucson Arts District Tech Corridor, a creative gathering space located in the historic Bates Mansion.

    “The goal was to create the world’s first artisan-driven maker space — more artistically focused — and to not decide what that was going to be,” said Maker House’s co-founder Tony Ford.

    Maker House’s all-encompassing definition of what comprises an artisan makes for an open-minded establishment.

    “The direction of the space becomes this kind of conversation between the volunteers, the staff, the team and the people who walk in off the street,” Ford said. “It’s just really interesting to see it organically grown.”

    The events that occur at the Maker House are not planned by the staff. They are determined by the people of Tucson who come to use the space to explore and facilitate their interests.

    “I didn’t come up with this idea. I just opened the space,” Ford said. “[If] you go down to Mexico … you’ll find an open plaza and people play music … and there’s a little bit of commerce, a little bit of art.”

    This is what Maker House attempts to bring to Tucson.

    “We need that community space. … We don’t get to connect to other people the way we need to,” Ford said.

    Maker House provides a space for guests to find that connection, whether through viewing art, attending a dance classes or sharing a conversation over coffee and pastries.

    Its coffee, beer and wine are crafted as delicately as the art displayed on the walls. And like any good art, they makes you pause and savor the flavor.

    Maker House also has resident experts who give talks on everything from particle physics to hydroponic food production.

    Its in-house jukebox is packed with music from local bands, giving patrons the chance to discover local talent.

    Ford said he has noticed that there are two kinds of people walking through Maker House’s doors.

    “There are people who are excited about it right off the bat,” Ford said, “and there are people who are really frustrated, because I won’t tell them what it is. … They want a pre-packaged, patterned kind of experience, and we’re trying to break you out of that.”
    Ford also hopes to show people they don’t have to leave town to find resources. There is already a network in the Tucson area, and Maker House is the artisan hub of that network.

    No matter your mission, Maker House can help. Every Friday, guests can bring anything to the free workshop “Fix-it Friday” to be fixed or modified. For those interested in music or poetry, the venue hosts an open-mic night every Tuesday.

    Maker House is for “anyone who is pursuing an art, a craft, a skill,” Ford said.

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