BY EMMA PEPPER, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGIC NETWORK COMMUNICATIONS, THE HUB
MAKESHOP, founded by creative agency MESH Design and Development, is a creative placemaking project in the Elk City neighborhood of Charleston, West Virginia, made by makers for makers. The group turned 4,000 square feet of abandoned space into an art and design studio, artist live/work lofts, and free public art space. A growing community of artists, makers, and creative entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the opportunity.
The building renovation was done in collaboration with over thirty artists, designers, and craftspeople and has hosted dozens of community-initiated maker events to date including art shows, workshops, events, gatherings, pop-up weekend shops, band shows, and anything else people have dreamed up to try out.
Each of MAKESHOP’s collaborators are encouraged to develop their skills, to push themselves to create something new, something yet-undreamed-of, and to grow.
The founder of MAKESHOP as well as MESH Design and Development, Megan Bullock, says:
“MAKESHOP is a place for collaboration, celebration, prototyping, incubating ideas, and action. Too many bold ideas never come to life because we spend too much time in the thinking stage. Makeshop is a place to try things out, share them with people, and then grow them. We are design thinkers, starters, and makers. Our space is a place for starting small, thinking big. And we need more people in Appalachia ready to try new things and support each other.
Everyone is welcome at MAKESHOP. I believe everyone has a maker inside of them ready to explore the unknown, and to find new parts of themselves. Everyone is encouraged to ask themselves, what is the next thing for West Virginia’s future, and for my own future? How can I build off of what I have to learn new skills, new ways of thinking, and contribute to West Virginia’s creative economic and cultural future?”
Upcoming events in the space are:
- Wed, 8/22 – MAKER-oni & Cheese Cookoff + Fundraiser by Makeshop at MESH Design & Development
- Wed, 8/25 – Pop-up Drawing Studio by Domenica Queen
- Sat, 8/29 – Pop-up Drawing Studio by Domenica Queen
- Sat, 9/1 – Reading & Literary Panel: The Process and a Sense of Place by Boss Babes WV + Travelin’ Appalachians Revue
Want to create a project like MAKESHOP for your community? Check out their website and find the leaders at firstname.lastname@example.org.