Makers’ Mill opens in the downtown this week, but assistant arts management professor Diane Scott (right) and her students have been at work on North Adams’ Makers’ Space – the first of its kind in North Berkshire County – since last semester.
Popular across the country, Makers’ Spaces are places where artists, artisans and do-it-yourselfers of all types can gather, use shared equipment, learn and collaborate.
Early on in the development process, Makers’ Mill board members approached Scott – who now serves as the organization’s treasurer – because they knew of her background and expertise in helping fine artists from a wide range of disciplines acquire the resources they need to cultivate financially sustainable careers.
Excitement for the new space spread quickly among members of the Northern Berkshire community.
“We’re providing resources and access to materials that people wouldn’t have otherwise,” Scott said. “A printing press is too large to have in your house. That’s what draws people, but the very best part of it is providing people with connections to each other.
“It’s a community-building activity to have people come and work and enjoy the space. Fine artists can be really isolated,” she continued. “They work alone, so this provides them with an opportunity to work together, and that’s one of the best things they can do for their own professional development, because they just learn so much from each other.”
Scott used the development of Makers’ Mill as a living case study for her “Introduction to Foundations and Finance” courses last semester. Her students were active participants in experiments using social media outreach and engagement, and they developed marketing strategies to reach an increased target audience
In addition, Scott’s students gave a presentation on crowdfunding to their peers in an arts management class on fundraising, taught by associate professor Dr. Lisa Donovan. They also researched and developed board documents for finance-related controls, and developed comparable financial ratios for use in analyzing the funding structure of the Makers’ Mill.
This fall, one of MCLA’s arts management students will be the paid intern at the Makers’ Mill. “And, we will develop a full marketing plan for the Makers’ Space during the fall semester’s ‘Arts Marketing’” course,” Scott said.
Although the individual monthly membership fee for Makers’ Mill is $40, MCLA students – as well as those at Williams College – may utilize the space for no charge. Faculty and staff may purchase a membership at half price.
Along with shared workspace, Makers’ Mill features printmaking equipment, including screen printing, relief printing presses, book binding equipment and paper cutting machines. Fiber arts equipment includes a large-format loom, two small floor looms and other weaving equipment, and sewing machines.
According to Scott, future additions to Makers’ Mill may include a three-dimensional printer, ceramics, woodworking and metal working. Training workshops by skilled artists will ensure safe and productive use of the equipment.
Located in the heart of North Adams at 73 Main St., “We’re really happy to be part of the downtown activity with DownStreet Art and other Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) activities this summer,” Scott said.
MCLA students, faculty/staff and families are invited to the grand opening celebration on Friday, June 12, 5-8 p.m. The free event will include making demonstrations, food, drink and music.