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Stamps School to Launch New Maker Space in Detroit

October 6, 2014

Students and faculty at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design will work with a neighborhood alliance in Detroit to launch an incubator for creative enterprises and a community space for developing skills.

The Stamps School is using a $100,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge, which funds ideas that engage and enrich Detroit through the arts.

Working with the Brightmoor Alliance and Detroit Community Schools, the Stamps School will repurpose an underused property to launch the Brightmoor Maker Space at Detroit Community Schools, an incubator for creative enterprises and a community space for developing skills. The Maker Space will nurture creative engagement in the area, offering art & design workshops from prototyping and 3D printing,  to hands on work in wood, to entrepreneurship programming, and more. The Maker Space will also include locally driven entrepreneurial initiatives

The Stamps School is committed to partnering with local organizations to help nurture the city’s revitalization efforts through creative programming.  Stamps School has been working with partners in the Brightmoor area since 2010, providing art and design programs in collaboration with the K-12 charter district Detroit Community Schools (DCS) and forming partnerships with The Brightmoor Alliance and Neighbors Building Brightmoor, organizations dedicated to creating a sustainable neighborhood after years of decline in population and businesses.  Gunalan Nadarajan, dean of the Stamps School, says “This space will further the School’s continuing efforts to be part of the reimagining of Detroit that is underway all across the city.”

In addition to new programming, the Maker Space will allow for the augmentation of the Stamps School’s existing neighborhood programs, particularly its youth-led enterprises in screen printing and furniture design, among others. It will also be a catalyst for new workshops in skill building and provide a community center for public maker events, such as an annual hackathon. Stamps will also utilize Re: Tool-Kit for Detroit, a maker resource jointly created by faculty at Stamps School of Art & Design and Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning, to engage Detroit businesses in programming at the center.

“In the Detroit Future City plan that was drafted in 2013, Brightmoor was designated as a zone for innovative production,” states Nick Tobier, Associate Professor and Detroit Faculty Engagement Coordinator at Stamps. “There are a number of groups and residents who have undertaken a range of projects to reinvigorate the area, including market gardens, innovative repurposing of vacant and underutilized land, vacant houses turned into outdoor amphitheaters.  There is a spirit of regeneration in the neighborhood. We want to help to support and extend those efforts.“

“The cities that are the most vibrant are those where every person considers themselves a creative being. The Brightmoor Maker Space at Detroit Community Schools will forward that idea by creating a neighborhood space for art and innovation,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation.

Detroit Community School’s Superintendent, Sharon McPhail, affirms, “Since 2010, we have seen our partnership with the University of Michigan grow through our classes with the Stamps School of Art and Design. Our students have teamed up with the Stamps School faculty and students to launch great ideas, from a silkscreen and design business that has been running now for two years, to student audio work for radio and our recent collaboration with 3D printing. We believe that sharing these ideas with a community that is filled with innovators and with skilled tradespeople will give our students and staff the center they need to create an innovative future. With hands-on skills, the design and entrepreneurial training offered by U of M, our Maker Space will compliment the programs at our school. This will enable us to meet the challenge of creating a pipeline to the trades, and connecting our curriculum to larger networks. We whole-heartedly support this project.”

The Brightmoor Maker Space at Detroit Community Schools will be a much needed sustainable place that nurtures entrepreneurship, offers making skills, and fosters community engagement, allowing Brightmoor to extend its position as one of Detroit’s enterprising neighborhoods.

About the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan
The Stamps School offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in art and design. The School’s unique open curriculum emphasizes interdisciplinary study, requires international educational experiences, fosters community engagement, and draws on the resources only available at a top-ten research university.
For more: stamps.umich.edu

About the John S. And James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

Stamps School to Launch New Maker Space in Detroit