This year, New Haven residents will have a new opportunity to meet their — inner — maker.
MakeHaven, a New Haven nonprofit that provides equipment and a brick-and-mortar space for community members to work together on creative projects, opened applications for scholarships on Wednesday in the hopes of diversify its membership.
Located on State Street, MakeHaven facilitates woodwork, glasswork and textile creation and other hands-on projects. Members pay $600 a year in dues for the opportunity to collaborate with others or work independently in the workshop. MakeHaven’s scholarship system subsidizes applicants’ membership fees either fully or in part, depending on the applicant’s financial need. Applicants can reapply for scholarships on an annual basis, and anyone over the age of 18 can receive a scholarship by applying on MakeHaven’s website.
“Our facility is focused on teaching in an informal peer-to-peer way. We want to empower people. Just a little bit of education allows people to fix things, understand things and make prototypes,” MakeHaven Chief Maker J.R. Logan said.
Currently, MakeHaven has raised $3,500 in public donations to fund the scholarships, but Logan said the nonprofit hopes to raise $5,000 by the end of the year in order to make them more widely accessible. MakeHaven has the funds to provide roughly six full scholarships, Logan said, but he expects most people will be able to pay part of their membership fees and apply for partial scholarships.
Logan added that MakeHaven hopes to expand its knowledge base by finding members with rare skills, like those they may have learned during New Haven’s industrial past.
MakeHaven’s tool collection includes sewing machines, computers, 3-D printers, mold-making machines and laser cutters, many of which were donated. Members are given 24-hour swipe access to the MakeHaven building and are expected to clean up after themselves and take care of the tools.
According to Logan, the organization was established roughly four years ago, and most of MakeHaven’s original members were individuals with backgrounds in engineering. Since then, MakeHaven has increased in size to roughly 100 members and has broadened its appeal to include craftsmen, Logan said.
Elise DeVito became a MakeHaven member three years ago to learn to fix things herself and to pick up new skills such as woodworking.
“I love it. I’ve met a lot of interesting people, heard a lot of exciting ideas and familiarized myself with new tools and techniques,” she said.
Tambira Armmand, MakeHaven’s director of creative action, lauded maker spaces like MakeHaven for fulfilling creative needs and enabling community members to live more meaningful and balanced lives.
MakeHaven hopes its scholarship will increase the number of people of color in its membership. Armmand said she looks forward to this.
“I think variety is the spice of life. Everyone tackles and sees a problem differently,” Armmand said. “There is definitely a need for more women and for people of color.”
The first sewing machine was invented in 1790.