The Maker Faire - Detroit UPDATE

Wow - it has been a very busy summer!  I have yet to update my post on The Maker Faire - Detroit - so here goes!

The Maker Faire was easy to get to, easy to park.  I would suggest buying your tickets online before hand as the line for the Faire was part of the normal ticket line for all of The Henry Ford and the line was SUPER long.

Once we had our tickets it was onto the Faire.  I was super excited and ready to explore.  It was probably a good thing I went with a small group of people or I would have literally ran through the Faire looking at everything.  It took me a few minutes to adjust to our groups slower pace, but once I did it was great to really take in each area, the people, the projects.

There was everything at the Faire - Threshers, small engines - old and invented, windmills, cargo kilts, a large metal dragon that breaths fire, big wheeled bikes, a life sized version of "Mouse Trap", mini go-karts, knitting stations, 3-D printers, easy cheese printer, local artists, crafts and so much more.  I was actually expecting more 'tinkering' spots instead of so many business booths and 3-D printers.  I got the feeling that The Maker Faire is only a couple years old at the Detroit location and that each year it grows a little more.  I hope that the more people that attend and spread the word the more unique the booths will be.

My favorite tinker spot was a waterfall swing.  The swing used the motion of the swings to pump water from the pool below the swings up the supports and then it falls in a gentle curtain of rain that the swingers pass through.  It's a great idea.  Think of a really hot summer day and being able to swing and get wet!

Inside the Henry Ford Museum there were more booths, which was a great break from the heat.  We had some lunch, toured the Museum as well as rest of the Faire.  My favorite display/activity area was the Needle Arts Zone.  There were literally buckets of knitting needs, a bunch of skeins of yarn in all colors, and a bunch of tables where ANYone could get a chance to learn to knit.  It was a wonderful station, but I especially liked their display - so creative!

Overall I really enjoyed the Maker Faire and I am excited to go next year!  It was great to see so many booths and so many people attending the Faire.  I consider events like these a step towards revitalizing the arts in communities.  This wasn't an 'art' Faire - but it was a Faire that celebrated people who problem solve, critically think, and who create.  I count that as a win!


Art Show at Local Art Gallery!

Every year the Elementary Schools in my old district would find a local Art Gallery and ask if they would be interested in hosting our Elementary Art Show.  Most small art galleries are super excited to have us.  This last year was a great success.  We had families that had gone home  to dress-up for the reception.  There were fathers who brought flowers for their daughters.  Though I think my favorite part of the event was a complete accident.  Turns out that we had a family that had one student at my building and her brother went to one of the other elementary schools. (I know this seems weird, but I promise it makes sense to the situation) Somehow, by complete chance I picked a piece by my student and the other elementary teacher picked her brother.  I didn't realize this until they took family pictures by both of the student's artwork!  They were one of the families that dressed up, brought a camera, and their grandparents!  It was great to see how happy and proud everyone was.  It was beautiful.

Breakdown of having a Gallery Art Show instead of a show in the Building:

- It's great to see kids bring their parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles to show off their hard work.
- We involve the community past our Elementary buildings.
- We involve the community with a great Art Gallery.
- Kids, parents, and community get to see student work in a REAL gallery and not just hung in the hall (though that is awesome too!)

- The galleries around our area are small and can only hold a small amount of artwork.  Each art teacher brings 10-15 pieces totally 50-75 total projects out of about 2,000 students.

Words of Wisdom (Things we Learned):
- Always have free food at the reception.  Cookies, punch, trail mix - ask each PTO to donate something to the reception.
- Make sure to give families the dates, times, address of the show and reception.  Try and give this about two weeks in advance - too early and it gets forgotten in the busy lives of families, too late and their schedules are full.
- Find an Art Gallery that is as close to your community as possible to make it easier on families and other community members to stop by.
- Try and have the show on display over a weekend or two to provide extra opportunities for community members and families to attend.
- Take pictures of the reception.
- Have the reception start about 10 minutes after school gets out so people can stop on their way to activities or home.
- Thank the Gallery
- Clean up after both the reception and the tear down of the show.

And of course no one else joins in my 'silly face' picture!