The Rivet community workshop in State College to welcome all makers, thinkers, designers
By: fioreMarketing | January 26, 2020 | Original Article
STATE COLLEGE – When Discovery Space moved to its North Atherton location, there were no plans to use the 5,000 square-foot storage area attached to the main facility. But after seeing a need for a community workshop in Centre County, the vacant space was transformed into a hybrid classroom-studio.
After a soft launch, The Rivet — a community workshop and makerspace — will open for regular hours next month. Located at 1224 N. Atherton St., the space will give teens and adults place to test ideas, trades and new skills while using professional equipment and tools. With a pottery studio, textile arts area, sign shop, computer classroom, electronics benches and 3D printers, The Rivet will be open from 3-9 p.m. and closed on Mondays, starting Feb. 4.
“To make something is an amazing feeling,” said Evan Rosengrant, project coordinator. “I think that it spreads joy, and it teaches problem-solving and design-thinking. You start to see the world differently when you’re thinking about engineering and design, and I hope that (The Rivet) will improve all aspects of our community just by putting the skills and equipment out there and by lowering the bar for these kind of arts.”
Michele Crowl, executive director of Discovery Space, wanted the area to be used for more than storage and thought there was a need for a space that allows people to practice vocational skills outside of a classroom or work setting in Centre County. For years, Crowl said she talked with community members to gauge ideas on how to use the space. Wanting to promote vocations and increase the number of skilled workers in the area, she said there was a desire among residents to see a space that would promote the skills of entrepreneurs and bring people with similar interests together.
With help from Rosengrant, Camille Sogin and community support, The Rivet became a reality.
Community members can take advantage of shop hours and classes that teach technical skills, critical thinking and iterative learning. With modern equipment, those experimenting at The Rivet are not required to have a two-year degree, pay tuition or have years of industry experience.
Instead, teens and adults can purchase memberships, and after taking clearance class, they are free to use the space to network, enhance their skills and learn new ones in the process.
“We are really excited to tailor the makerspace to the interests of the community,” Crowl said. “Essentially, the whole project is a prototype. We’ll be listening to feedback from users of the space and adapting as needed. Because of this, we invite community members with a skill or talent to connect with us. We are already beginning to hear what people are interested in learning, and we are planning classes based on that feedback.”
The Rivet was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Centre Foundation. The funding helped the space purchase equipment for the workshop, including computers, embroidery machines, printers, pottery-making supplies and lasers. Initially an empty garage with no ceiling or heat, Crowl said the space would not have come together if it weren’t for the help of local organizations, residents and contractors.
Kurt Bernier, Leonard S. Fiore, Inc. director of field operations, helped bring the “gararge-esque” space to life through the renovating process. Wanting to see a place like The Rivet in Centre County, Bernier donated his time, energy and skills and helped create the makerspace. Once the workshop opens, Bernier said he looks forward to continuing practicing and teaching hands-on skills to others.
“If I would have turned in all of the time that I was spending on this project, pro bono, that would have raised a few eyebrows,” Bernier said. “But it always felt good to do. This is the type of thing that you’re spending extra time on, but you really enjoy being part of it. Seeing the way it turned out, makes it all worth it.”
Accessibility, sustainability, community and creating ability are The Rivet’s driving values. Rosengrant and Sogin, Rivet manager, said the space welcomes all skill levels where participants are encouraged to test new ideas. The space also provides an opportunity for people to teach vocational skills to others.
The last part of the project is still in the fundraising stage but will include a metal and wood shop.
Two open houses are scheduled on Feb. 1 and 2 from 3-9 p.m. for individuals at least 18 years old. During the event, attendees may go on a free tour of the space, and unlimited clearance classes will be available for $14. For more information about scheduling, classes and event registration, visit TheRivet.org.
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