“Santa Fe is a city of makers,” Ginger Richardson, a leading founder of MAKE Santa Fe, says. MAKE (2879 All Trades Road, 819-3502) is a local makerspace, a collaborative venue for creative empowerment where people can share tools and knowledge to make ideas come to life.

Though Santa Fe often finds itself in economic and social disparity, Richardson believes makerspaces are an opportunity to unite a town. "A city is the sum of the stories it tells itself," she explains. "If we can begin to engender a story in which we are all makers, that is one way to bring this city together."

MAKE originated in 2015 and moved from Meow Wolf to its new location off of Siler Road in January of this year. Richardson say MAKE chose this location to ensure resources were accessible to all members of the community.

On the flipside of town, the New Mexico History Museum (113 Lincoln Ave., 476-5200) launched its own makerspace, the Cowden Makerspace and Learning Lab, in June. Through a collaboration with the Santa Fe Opera, the museum makerspace aims to combine historic and modern materials, such as textiles and LED lights, in projects inspired by its exhibitions.

Allie Burnquist, a leader of the program, brings a range of knowledge from her work with similar spaces throughout New Mexico including the Parachute Factory in Las Vegas, MAKE Santa Fe, and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque. She also led the Makerstate Initiative, a traveling makerspace that visited 50 cities throughout New Mexico and hosted over one hundred pop-up workshops.

With this background, Burnquist helped the museum makerspace build a collaborative web throughout Santa Fe and, in the month since its opening, the space has already hosted participants from the Georgia O’Keeffe Art & Leadership program and is currently collaborating with the Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails to create a virtual exhibition highlighting women in history.

The makerspace also provides free public studio access in its lobby where visitors can combine the historic process of printmaking with modern paper circuits to create light-up cards.

"This space allows people to experiment with things," Burnquist tells SFR. "A lot of times kids will ask, 'Am I doing it right?' and the answer is, 'Just try it. If it doesn't work, we will figure it out.' We get to break the insecurity of being wrong."

Meanwhile, MAKE recently completed a three-month program with ¡Youthworks!, Girls Inc. popped into the studio for a hands-on experiment with the laser cutter and young makers from Tesuque Pueblo are visiting this week.

The organization aims to bolster their efforts as recent recipients of a $50,000 grant from the Wells Fargo CommunityWINS program through the US Conference of Mayors. MAKE's DigiFab Youth Lab program continues its trend of training in digital fabrication, workforce development and pre-apprenticeship for youths in Northern New Mexico.

Such collaborations allow community members to experience a variety of tools from the 3D printers, circuitry and printmaking at the museum to laser-cutters, plasma-cutters and weaving at MAKE.

Access to hands-on resources is only one value, however; in addition to tools, makerspaces find people of varied backgrounds sharing studios and exchanging ideas. "It's about the people, the interaction, the encounter," Richardson says. "It's a human endeavor."

In its space, MAKE works to create more gender equality in the maker world. Anaid Garcia, a MAKE volunteer, seeks to provide resources for women to build skills for self-sufficiency and confidence. "My wife and I try to be more present in the studios to encourage that gender equality," Garcia says, "to break down the barriers for access."

These visions guide both organizations to bridge divides through tactile, hands-on skills that combat consumer-driven "quick-fix" society with an emphasis on the joys and frustrations of process.

"Part of being a maker is the troubleshooting process," Burnquist says. "We have to fail in order to succeed because we wouldn't know the right way if we hadn't done it wrong a hundred times."

Build, Create and Invent Membership Orientation
6 pm Wednesday July 26. Free.
MAKE Santa Fe,
2879 Trades West Road,