A Place for Makers – #WATWB

Courtesy Wikipedia

One of Hartford, Connecticut’s most recognizable buildings is undergoing an ironic modification. The G. Fox building once was the home to a multi-story department store from which you could buy almost anything. I remember shopping at G. Fox when I worked in downtown Hartford in the early 80s.

G. Fox’s flagship store was gradually robbed of its glory. First by suburban malls and then by a chain of mergers until this store was closed and then the G. Fox brand was lost within the Macy’s empire. Today, Internet sales threaten to erase Macy’s and perhaps department stores from the retail space.

Recently, the store has been home to a community college, in an attempt to bring some youthful energy back into Hartford. Education, of a different sort promises to add to this success:

“An array of workshops, computer labs and art studios are being built up inside the iconic G. Fox and Co. building, the new site of Connecticut’s largest makerspace.”

The building will soon be transformed from a place to buy readymade clothing, furniture, artwork and jewelry to a space for do-it-yourselfers make those same products.

“Like other DIY collectives, MakerspaceCT plans to offer classes, equipment and work space for a wide range of traditional crafts and trades — including blacksmithing, welding, woodworking, jewelry making, ceramics and sewing — as well as digital skills, such as 3D printing, computer-controlled routing and engineering…”

With luck, this space will bring a kind of energy into downtown that the city hasn’t seen in many years. The idea that people can work together, face-to-face, collaborating over tools and workbenches instead of computer screens makes me smile. I don’t seem to be the only one smiling. According to one of the organizers:

“We definitely want to bring in the arts because these are inextricably linked and intertwined with innovation and manufacturing,” … “The collaboration you see at other makerspaces is heartwarming, to see people who normally live in different worlds working together to further a project or an idea.”

Check out the full article here.

The “We are the World” Blogfest is in its tenth month of a year-long journey. This blogfest’s goal is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world. We are challenging all participants to share the positive side of humanity. This month’s co-hosts are: Shilpa Garg, Simon Falk, Lynn Hallbrooks, Eric Lahti, Damyanti Biswas and Guilie Castillo.

#WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month. Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time between now and February of 2018.

50 thoughts on “A Place for Makers – #WATWB

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    1. I think it’s a great way to bring young people into the city, and that’s what they need. Older people who work there just commute in and out, they rarely stay and take advantage of what the city has to offer.

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  1. How refreshing to see your community recognizing the future potential of the G. Fox building, and in such an innovative way. It’s so sad to see these old buildings left abandoned only to die a slow death or just demolished.

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  2. Hi Dan – this is a great read … there seem to be more of these sort of community minded workplaces springing up – and they seem to be developing … cannot be anything but good – cheers Hilary

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  3. Hi, Dan – What a great way to repurpose a historic building and connect a community. I like your idea of combining a ball game with a trip to check out this space. If you do, please let us know your thoughts.

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  4. I’m adding my voice to the chorus of those who love this – not only because it breathes new life into an old building, but because learning is a good thing – especially when it involves skills that add both beauty and value to our lives.

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  5. “The idea that people can work together, face-to-face, collaborating over tools and workbenches instead of computer screens makes me smile.” I too, found myself smiling, Dan. I like that a beautiful and historic building is being remade from the inside out, and that people are remaking their skills and relationships in the mix. Thanks for sharing about being a part of our WATWB community.

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  6. We have a new area which is trying to duplicate our High Street art galleries, studios and shops. It is in an area where tenements are, Franklinton. Both are in Columbus but the idea of living in taller buildings where many kinds of crafts, arts and wares will be made interested my brother Randy. He came down last year and found out it costs quite a lot to be there, even of starting at the ground level with no real plans or directions. I am excited to know the area has potential and won’t be left vacant anymore. Thanks for listening but I was excited about your G.Fox building and Makerspace CT. 😀 🎉 🖼 ✨

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    1. I do often wonder about the fees in these places. They are supposed to be helping people who are starting out. Hartford has some “Artist Lofts” but I know they are pretty expensive.

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      1. I guess funding for the arts may be less and less available. Meanwhile, Randy’s gallery is fairly close to the more active areas on the far west side of Cleveland.
        Randy was an artist in residence at a school (or two) which the state has funds for this, or the school gets government grants. (Obviously, I don’t really know: oops!)

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